Friday, February 24, 2012

Cauliflower Pizza Crust.........trust me it's NOT gross!


     I ran across this recipe on Pinterest for Cauliflower Crust Pizza....it had about a zillion pins. I decided that at some point in time I would give this recipe a try. It sounded weird, but it was quite popular with the pinning crowd. I had my reservations about it. Cauliflower is a veggie that I like (with cheese). I figured that trying it once would not kill me....hopefully.
     The hardest part of the recipe is ricing the cauliflower. It isn't that it is hard, it just a little messy. However, my one head of cauliflower made a cookie sheet sized pizza, a mini pizza, and enough for another recipe that size that I put into the freezer (2 cups of riced cooked cauliflower). So at least you only have to make the mess once in a while.
     I was very surprised that the cauliflower isn't really able to be detected in the finished product. I figured it would have a bizzaro flavor, but it didn't! It tasted good. Did I just say that? A veggie crust tasted good?!?! My Mom happened to stop by while I was cooking and she tried it when it came out of the oven. She was also shocked. She thought it was really good as well. She kept saying "there is cauliflower in here?" ha Yep, Mom in the crust!!
     The texture of the crust wasn't quite stiff enough to pick up, however it was very close. On the mini pizza I could pick up the slices. On the bigger rectangle pizza I didn't chance dropping toppings all over. I liked the texture though.
     I made a few changes to the original recipe. You know me, I never seem to leave recipes alone. It just doesn't seem possible for me to follow a recipe without making it my own. Adding and subtracting things to get MY version. Without further adieu..............

Cauliflower Pizza Crust
1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup parmasean cheese, grated
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp Italian seasoning mix
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 large cloves garlic, minced

Pizza toppings: veggies, cheese, pepperoni, meat etc.
To rice the cauliflower: Wash and dry one large head of fresh cauliflower. Remove leaves and stems. Chop into chunks. Place the chunks into a food processor or heavy duty blender (you may want to do several small batches instead of the whole head at once). Pulse on high until the cauliflower resembles a grain. Don't go too long or it will turn to mush and we don't want mush. (Ricing may also be done by using a cheese grater, grate the head of cauliflower if you don't own a food processor or blender). Place the cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and cook for 8 minutes. You do not need to add any liquid.

One large head of fresh cauliflower should be 3-4 cups of riced cauliflower . The recipe calls for 1 cup,  however I doubled my recipe to make a pizza on a cookie sheet. The remainder may be saved for another time. I packaged mine and put it into the freezer.

The Crust:
Pre heat the oven to 450 deg. and spray a cookie sheet or pizza pan with cooking spray.

In a medium size bowl. Combine the egg, spices, and cheeses. Add in the cauliflower and mix until well combined.

Using a spatula spread the mixture out in a thin layer on the greased cookie sheet. You want a thin, even, layer of crust mixture. Be sure that there aren't any holes.

Bake at 450 deg. for 15 min. Remove from the oven and top with your favorite toppings.

Increase the heat on the oven to broil and place the topped pizza back into the oven for 8-10 min. or until the cheese is melty and slightly browned.

I never would have guessed that cauliflower makes a good pizza crust!
To rice the cauliflower I used my blender. I did several small batches.

You want to have a grain like consistency, not a mush.
video
Here is a snazzy little video clip of me ricing some cauliflower......get excited!
Once you have the cauliflower ready, you just need to mix up the other ingredients.

Beat the egg, then add the spices and cheeses. Then the cauliflower goes in.
On a greased cookie sheet, spread the mixture into a thin even layer.

Bake at 450 deg. for 15 minutes

Abstract mini pizza crust.
I put the leftover riced cooked cauliflower into a freezer bag and into the freezer.

Remove the crust from the oven and add your favorite sauce and toppings.



This recipe turned out much better than I had ever anticipated. I hope that you love it as much as I did. It is low-carb and gluten free and yummy! Enjoy!!!
-Jessica




Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Strawberries and Cream Bars


     What happens when you have an abundance of strawberries in your fridge??? Well you make an amazing strawberry recipe!! That's what!
     Strawberries were on an amazing sale during Valentines week. I may have bought a container too many, so I thought rather than let them go to waste, I would whip up this yummy treat. I had run across the recipe that inspired this recipe clear back during summer. I printed it off and tucked it away to be made. However, I forgot to get that done. The original recipe was gluten-full. It used a bag of sugar cookie mix and the filling recipe was a little different. So I converted it to gluten free, tweaked a few things and here is the amazing result. I think it turned out pretty darn yummariffic!
Strawberries and Cream Bars

Sugar Cookie Base:
3 cups gluten free flour blend
1/2 tsp. Xanthan Gum
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
1 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
3/4 c. sour cream

Creamy Filling:
1 C. White Chocolate Baking Chips
1 package (8oz) Cream Cheese

Strawberry Topping:
4 C. Sliced Fresh Strawberries
1/2 C. Sugar
2 T. Cornstarch
1/3 C. Water

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the flat beater attached, cream the butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and sour cream and beat at low speed until combined.
Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. Spread the batter in the bottom of a 15x10 or a 9x13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 min. or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely, about 30 min.

In a small microwave safe bowl, melt the baking chips. Microwave on high for 1 min. Stir and repeat until smooth. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in melted chips until blended. Spread over cookie base. Refrigerate while preparing the strawberry topping.

In a small bowl, crush 1 cup of the strawberries. In a small saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the crushed strawberries and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Cool for 10 minutes and then stir in the remaining 3 cups of strawberries. Spoon topping over the filling. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving (to allow it to set up). Store covered in the refrigerator.
Mix Sugar and butter together, then add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition

Mix in sour cream and vanilla. Then mix in dry ingredients.
Evenly spread the cookie dough out over the bottom of a pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake at 375 for 25-30 min or until golden brown

I may or may not have saved a little cookie dough out to make myself a few sugar cookies...shhhhh do NOT tell ;) I promise not to tell if you do it too!
Spread the creamy filling over the entire cookie base and put into the refrigerator to chill while making the strawberry topping.

I used a potato masher to smoosh my 1 cup of strawberries. It worked great! They weren't too mangled.

Cook the topping until thickened. Cool for 10 min. and then add the other 3 cups of berries.
Spread the strawberry topping over the creamy filling and refrigerate for about 1 hour so it can all set up.



     These are SO good, I will for sure be adding them to my favorite dessert repertoire!! I'm a sucker for anything strawberry.

-Jessica

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chocolate Fondue, oh so simple and sinful!


     I decided I would hook you up with another "recipe-O-love" before Valentines Day. *insert ooooh's,  ahhhh's, and thank you's here* ha
     This recipe is super easy, however it tastes like it was hard to make. Your Valentines will be fooled into thinking you spent lots of time on this treat for them, when in reality you only spent a few minutes.
     I have made this fondue for parties, showers, and just nights at home. It is a huge hit every time. Leftovers re-heat well. It also makes an amazing topping for ice cream if you do happen to have leftovers.

Chocolate Fondue

3/4 C. Chocolate Milk Chips (I use milk chocolate, but semi sweet also works well)
5oz Can of Evaporated Milk
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
50 Caramels (1-14 oz bag) unwrapped

In a microwave safe bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Microwave on high for 2 1/2 minutes, stir. Microwave another 2-3 minutes or until all chocolate and caramels are melted. Stir to be sure all ingredients are combined.

Serve with your favorite dippers: strawberries, apple slices, marshmallows, gluten free pretzels, gluten free cookies or pieces of gluten free cake.
Unwrapping all of the caramels is probably the most time consuming part of the recipe. Check out my pile of wrappers! ha
I always use my Pampered Chef microwave cooker when I make this, but any microwave safe bowl will work great.
Dump everything into the bowl and microwave.
Serve with your favorite dippers.



   I hope you enjoy this yummy chocolaty treat. It is sooooo good and soooo sinful. Happy Valentines Day to all of my SillyYaks!!

-Jessica

Friday, February 10, 2012

Red, White, and Blue Sweet Risotto


     I will confess that this recipe doesn't have many pictures to go with it. I had never made risotto before, except for the box stuff that comes with a seasoning packet. I had visions of Chef Gordon Ramsay screaming at me while making my risotto. If you have ever watched Hell's Kitchen, then you know that is about all he does....scream at people, taste their risotto, and yell at them some more because it is a failure. So I was a touch stressed out when thinking of making risotto from scratch. I had no time to grab the camera, I had to STIR!!! However, the end result is sooooooo yummy. I think even Chef Ramsay would approve.
     This recipe was inspired by a recipe that Whole Foods posted on their Facebook page this week. I mostly stuck to their recipe, however I used what I had at home. I used regular sugar, a blood orange, and the milk that was in the fridge. In other words, I didn't go out and buy expensive organic this and that to make this. I did have to go buy coconut milk, that wasn't anything that I had on hand. I also decided that I would use both strawberries AND blueberries in my recipe. The more fruit the better, right? Right! I hope that you like my version.......

Red, White, and Blue Sweet Risotto

6 cups Milk
1/2 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup Arborio Rice
Zest and juice of 1 orange (I used a blood orange)
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 quart strawberries, sliced
1-2 cups blueberries, washed

Over medium heat combine the milk, vanilla, and sugar. Warm until simmering and then reduce the heat to low. Keep warm. In a second pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the rice and cook until toasted, stir often to keep from scorching.(3-5 min.). Add the orange zest and juice. Stir constantly until juice is absorbed, then begin adding the milk mixture 1 cup at a time. Let the milk absorb (stirring frequently) and then add another cup until all 6 cups have been added and rice is thick and creamy. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut milk. Let it set for about 5 min. 

In a small bowl, spoon sliced strawberries and blueberries. Top the fruit with risotto and garnish with a few more berries. Serve warm, but also good cold. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Combine milk, sugar, and vanilla. Get this mixture warm before starting the rice.
Stir Stir Stir...........YES CHEF!!!
Put the berries in the bottom of your bowl and top with warm sweet risotto.
Garnish with more berries and enjoy!

 Ommm nommm nommmmm!!
     Be sure to invite some friends over to help you eat this, it is highly addictive if you end up with leftovers. Enjoy!

-Jessica

Valentine Chocolate Info and a Valentine Round-up


     Valentines Day is coming up.....let me repeat that for those of you who were not listening the first time......VALENTINES DAY IS COMING UP QUICKLY!!! Ok, so now you can't tell your loved ones that you "forgot" because I JUST reminded you....twice!
     I thought I would share some important Valentine related info. with you such as what brands of chocolate are safe. Chocolates and Valentines Day go hand in hand. It would be HORRIBLE to give your sweetie a box of chocolates that glutens them. So let's talk chocolates for a while:

Hershey's Chocolate: FAQ says: "We have found that allergen lists quickly become outdated as our product lines change over time. Rather than have you make purchase decisions based on outdated information, we encourage you to check the ingredient label on the package. This label provides accurate, current information about all the ingredients in the package."

Mars (M &M's, Snickers, Skittles, 3 Musketeers, etc). : Allergen Info Page which basically says the label is your best source of information

NECCO (Conversation hearts, NECCO wafers, etc): FAQ Page says:We make the following products which do not contain gluten from wheat, rye, oats or barley: Necco Wafers, Mary Janes, Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses, Sweethearts Conversation Hearts (Valentines only), Canada Mint & Wintergreen Lozenges, Haviland Thin Mints and Candy Stix

In addition, Clark Bars, Skybars, Haviland Peppermint & Wintergreen Patties, Necco Candy Eggs (Easter), Talking Pumpkins (Halloween), Squirrel Nut Caramels and Squirrel Nut Zippers, Banana Split and Mint Julep Chews, ULTRAMINTS are also gluten free.        

Russel Stover, Whitman's, Pangburns, Weight Watchers Candy: Their website FAQ says: "To the best of our knowledge, our products are gluten free — with the exception of products containing cookies, such as S'mores and Cookies and Creams. These products contain a small amount of gluten, and ingredient labels indicate clearly that they contain wheat.

Be aware that products containing wheat are produced on equipment that's also used to make other products. So we can't completely rule out the possibility of cross-contamination, despite efforts to prevent it."


Tootsie Roll Industries (Cellas Choco. Covered Cherries, tootsie rolls, Andes Mints, Blow Pops, Junior Mints, Sugar Babies, Sugar Daddies, etc etc etc): Please look at their website to see ALL of their products because they have LOTS. Their FAQ section says that: " At this time, all of our confections are gluten free with the exception of Andes cookies. We do not use wheat, barley, rye, oats, triticale, spelt or any of their components and that includes our dusting on our conveyor belts. We do use corn and soy products in the manufacturing of our products."


Zachary Chocolates : I called them and they said that they don't really have a list. They only have one product that has gluten and that is a cookies and creme Easter Bunny which is made on it's own dedicated line.

I know that those aren't the ONLY candy companies out there, but this should allow you to get your Sweetie some chocolate for Valentines day. If your favorite candy isn't listed, then check out their website, call their 1-800 number and find out if it is safe. Don't assume!!
      Don't forget that you can also make your Sweetie something nice. I'm sure you would score more brownie points with a homemade treat than a store bought treat anyways......here are a few ideas:

and I even gave you guys a cool way to make a card........



     I hope that each of you have an amazing Valentines Day!! Enjoy the time with your loved ones, that's what it is truly all about.


-Jessica