Blueberry Cake with Lemon Glaze {Gluten-Free}

Last week I saw Hey Natalie Jean’s blueberry cake and absolutely had to make it. Hers had a pretty purple huckleberry glaze, but I opted for lemon since I’m not entirely sure where to get my paws on huckleberry syrup at the last minute.

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The cake was an uncomplicated affair, save for the flour/baking powder mixture I had to trash when I swore that twice I saw ‘tbsp’ and not ‘tsp’ … post-nap pregnant me is really something. Luckily I realized this before combining any additional ingredients and saved us all a science experiment of sorts during the baking process.

I threw the lemon glaze together while the cake was baking. A classic Martha Stewart recipe that is fabulous and foolproof.

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Per Natalie’s instruction, I let the cake sit for at least half an hour before pouring on the glaze. Just a little drizzle and smoothing out with a spatula and you’re set. Do make sure that you’re plate has enough of a lip to catch any glaze that might run off the cake.

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The cake reminded me of a blueberry donut and it took whatever willpower I have left to not dig in to a piece for breakfast. And, believe me, willpower feels like a scarce thing at nearly 8 months pregnant.

Blueberry Cake with Lemon Glaze (Inspired by Hey Natalie Jean and Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:

Cake:
2 cups rice flour
2 tsps baking powder
dash salt
2/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups blueberries, lightly coated in flour

Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Directions:
1. Combine flour and baking powder in a medium bowl and sift to combine.
2. Combine oil, sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla in a separate bowl and whisk until light and creamy.
3. Combine dry ingredients with wet in three parts. Mix well, then add your blueberries lightly coated in flour.
4. Pour batter into a greased cake pan (mine is 9″) and bake at 325 degrees F for 60-70 minutes.
5. While cake is baking, combine powdered sugar with lemon juice and stir to combine. Glaze should be thick, yet pourable.
6. One cake has cooled, run a knife along edges of the pan and flip over onto a cooling rack or plate. Pour glaze over top of cake and smooth with a spatula.

 

 

 

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Memorial Day Weekend 2014: A Post of Mostly Nothing

This weekend was a little of this, a little of that, and one day longer than normal; which makes it extra lovely in my book.

Not a whole lot happened of note, but I’m going to tell you about it anyway! Aren’t you the luckiest?

Saturday I managed to cart myself to not one grocery store, but three grocery stores. See, it’s getting good already. By the time I cleaned the house, bought food all over town, and whipped up Joy the Baker’s Cherry Pie Bars, I thought I just might be done for the day. But lo, Pals opted for a last-minute movie date and finally saw The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was marvelous, as was the medium popcorn and diet coke combo.

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Sunday we churched and headed over to our friends’ house for a BBQ. The rain held off long enough for everyone to stuff themselves silly. I think it’s written somewhere that the only way to kickoff the summer is with various grilled meats and mayonnaisey side items.

Today I managed to clock a good 10 hours of sleep (it’s my magic number). After a slow morning, we did various backyard-ish things before the rain rolled in. While Pal trimmed lots of greenery, I:

– checked out the mulberries Lola is currently obsessed with. There are many streaks of purple where I never thought there would be.

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– bathed both pups – terribly dramatic each time around. Lola shook and looked at me like I’d betrayed in the worst way. Elizabeth swapped cone for bath temporarily and I’m fairly certain considered running away. Alas, they both survived and got to have a treat.

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– painted my nails and very patriotic shade of red.

– continued to read Nora Ephron’s collection of essays, Crazy Salad & Scribble Scribble, from the comfort of my back deck. The best kind of reading happens on back decks. A little bit of a suntan wouldn’t hurt, either.

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Pal finished the yard just in time for a fairly theatrical thunderstorm. We took full advantage, opened lots of windows to catch the breeze and started on the final season of Mad men.

Pao de Queijo: Take II

Recently a friend so kindly brought me homemade pao de queijo, or Brazilian cheese bread. Being made with tapioca flour makes the bread traditionally gluten-free and the outside becomes perfectly crisp while the inside maintains a delicious chewiness. Needless to say, it blew my mind. I wanted to make it immediately and, most importantly, as pizza crust. You can find the basic recipe here.

My first attempt, while enthusiastic, was not an all-out success. I used my cast iron skillet, which may have worked well if I had not piled the dough on so thick, thus resulting in a goopy, pizza-flavored mess.

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My second attempt was a vast improvement from the first, but not quite perfect. I found that thinning out the dough, by spreading it out on a baking sheet with a rubber spatula, helped the crust become much more solid and crisp, at least on the top. The bottom, however, was not crisped nor browned. Reheating leftovers in a pan with a little olive oil helped crisp up the bottom, but next time I may try flipping the crust midway through the baking process (if I can manage to do so without destroying the thing). The middle stayed chewy, which I think is just the nature of the bread. I’m smitten, but Pal prefers his traditional pizza pie. Seeing that it’s been so long since I’ve had real pizza, I’ll take what I can get — and this far surpasses so many of the cardboard impostors that I have tried in the past.

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IMG_3945Like any pizza, you can top it with whatever floats your boat. I went with mozzarella, sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions. I’m confident the next go-round will be even better.

Weekend Food Prep + Meal Planning

Food prep — I’ve learned to love it and I think you should, too. It’s become almost a necessity for me to prep lunches and dinners in some form or fashion in order for us to be out the door on time in the morning and eating dinner before 9:00pm (added bonus if I have a breakfasty item made for the week before Monday comes).

Our weekly meals vary, but one thing is for certain: we are down with leftovers. That really makes this whole meal planning thing work. Some weeks it’s all I can do to come up with for or five meals to split however many ways in order to have lunch and dinner covered and would find it dang near impossible to figure out more. Though, on the flip-side, you’ll have to see how many times you can take eating the same thing without cringing. I could happily eat a sweet potato most days for lunch, but Pal, not so much. It takes trial and error, but now I feel like I almost have meal planning down to a science.

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Knowing just what we’ll be eating throughout the week makes food prep way easier and I know all the foods I prep won’t go to waste. Also, I only prep what will save me time in the evenings. If I can cut up an onion in a few minutes while the pan it’ll go in heats up, I’d rather not cut it up in advance so that I can keep it fresh.

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Muffin ingredients: I doubled the amount of almond milk needed to keep them sugar-free.

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Millet + Blueberry Muffins: Gluten-free and Vegan

This week I made:

  • brown rice for stir-fry
  • millet for falafel
  • baked potatoes
  • pao de queijo pizza dough (dough recipe here; pizza crust directions here)
  • caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms (pizza toppings)
  • Millet + Blueberry Muffins (a variation of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Millet-Fig Muffins from It’s All Good)

Start to finish, I was in the kitchen about two hours, give or take (including unloading and reloading the dishwasher).

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I try to carve out part of an afternoon to make this happen, but know it won’t always be possible. For weekends when I can’t make the prep happen all at once, I spread it out during the week, like making rice or potatoes the night before I need them.

Say Goodbye to These

I always thought that I would be the one to decide what this blog’s voice would really be about. In my head I sort of imagined having some sort of “A-ha!” moment and deciding that would be the route I would seek. As it turns out, maybe that voice found me (or at least my disagreeable/intolerant body found that voice for me).

For me, this has been a year full cutting out foods I once loved. Honey, shellfish, and now gluten (and possibly dairy). Due to eczema that would not respond to at-home treatments of any kind, I decided to dig a little deeper and try to find out what might possibly be the cause. The more I read, the more I noticed a connection between eczema and food intolerance, namely gluten and dairy. This shouldn’t have been such a surprise considering the increased eczema when my honey allergy began. Several other gluten intolerant symptoms applied to me as well, so I decided to cut out both gluten and dairy for a while to see if anything improved.

I managed to maintain a gluten-free existence for three whole days. My cravings for bread had diminished and I felt great. Then I made stir fry. Who knew hoisin sauce wasn’t gluten-free? Not this girl. I read the ingredients and didn’t see anything suspicious. The next morning I didn’t feel great at first but dismissed it. After I ate the same stir fry for lunch, I felt terrible within minutes. I quickly googled hoisin and found the answer. Turns out eliminating gluten may just be more necessary than I initially thought. Dagger-like stomach pains, nausea, and acid reflux after eliminating gluten for just a few days? No thanks.

Long story short, it looks like JulieDoodles will be taking a turn for the gluten-free. If dairy doesn’t make a difference in how I feel, I may add that back in after a few weeks. I do like a challenge, though. Hopefully it’ll be an exciting foray into a whole new world of cooking. So allow me to leave you with these:

Joy the Baker’s Brown Sugar Cookies. Possibly the best cookie I have ever made. Chewy, with warm flavors that melt in your mouth. Most certainly a worthy exit from the gluten-filled ways of days gone by. Making them into leaf shapes made them that much more irresistible.

Stay tuned to see what JulieDoodles becomes. I have already done some recipe research and feel like a have a pretty great gluten and dairy free week ahead of me.

The Low-Cal, Low-Fat, All-Natural Cupcake. And no, it’s not a myth.

I have been fortunate enough to get a pretty good grasp on baking over the past few years. It’s a skill that surprises many, especially most members of my family. Going by others’ instructions and modifying where I felt comfortable has been the extent of my comfort level for the most part. Last week a light bulb went off in my head and I felt an urge (or something much stronger) to create my own recipe, but not just any old recipe. I felt that I could absolutely, without a doubt, make a healthy and delicious cupcake. After some googling and recipe comparing, I sat down and came up with my very first cupcake recipe.

The recipe creating wasn’t all that difficult. The beets were my problem. I didn’t really research how to cook them, and as it turns out, just throwing them in a dish and baking them for an hour doesn’t really do the trick. (Evidently water and foil help this process tremendously. Oops.) After I gave up on the baking, I chopped them up and threw them in my blender with some lemon juice. That only diced them and I needed a puree, so I put them on the stove with some water and let them simmer until they were mush. Next time I am checking the baby food isle for pureed beets. I feel like that should exist, though I’m not sure if many parents are brave enough to go at a baby with, what is essentially, a spoonful of all-natural red dye. Hats off to those who do.

Once I had the beets under control, or so I thought, I went to mixing. The batter looked great. Bright red, nice cake battery flavor, I thought I was right on track. 15 minutes later, I open the oven to see that my red velvet cupcakes are brown. Brown?!? Worse things could happen, I suppose, but clearly I was in need of a name change. The current title is “Chocolate Beet Cake with Neufchatel Cream Frosting”. Fancy, right? (I just really like saying Neufchatel.)

The result was pretty darn good, especially for a cupcake that has roughly 1/3 of the calories and sugar and 1/4 of the fat of a certain coffee chain’s Red Velvet cupcake. Not only are the nutrition stats good, the cupcakes were so moist! Nobody likes to choke down a dry cupcake, and that was really my biggest fear.

Oh beets, you red little devils.

Chocolate Beet Cake

Mmmm, Neufchatel!

Chocolate Beet Cake with Neufchatel Cream Frosting: (serves 12)

Ingredients: (for cake)
1 cup pureed beets
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 tbsp light sour cream
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup, plus 1 tbsp egg whites
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp butter flavor (no need to purchase if you don’t have, just add more vanilla. I have some and wanted to try it out.)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup pure cane sugar
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients: (for frosting)
8 0z package of Neufchatel, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
dash salt
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp butter flavor (again, not a must-have)
2 tbsp half and half

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake pan. In  the bowl of an electric mixer, combine beets, apple sauce, butter, sour cream, egg whites, vanilla, and butter flavor. Mix until combined. In another bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add to wet ingredients, one cup at a time, and mix until combined. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.

For frosting:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine Neufchatel, vanilla, butter flavor, and salt. Mix until creamy. Add confectioner’s sugar one tablespoon at a time and mix on high until smooth, then add half and half and mix until desired consistency is reached. Spread approximately one tablespoon on each cupcake.

Nutritional Info: (per cupcake)
150 cals, 7g fat, 15g carbs, 10g sugar, 1g fiber, 4g protein

Let’s Have a Ball and a Biscuit, Sugar.

I regret to inform you, but this Saturday is also going to be sans ebelvskivers. It’s an outrage, I say; but, it’s not by choice. I have to work. (On a Saturday!? What the?! I know, I know, it’s criminal, but I do appreciate your sympathy.) Since there is no time for prefect, puffy pancakes, I leave you with biscuits. Homemade, whole wheat, cheddar-laced biscuits.Oh, and don’t let anyone make you believe you need a biscuit cutter. A pint glass works perfectly. I had a moment of mini-panic thinking I needed a 2.5″ metal ring, and then the love-child of MacGyver and Martha emerged to save the day once more. I think I need to name her.

A one-bowl mixture, so simple.

Kneaded and ready to cut.

Pint glass cut biscuits.

Fluffy and fabulous.

Even better when topped with eggs... and more cheese.

Whole wheat cheddar biscuits (makes 6):

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour, plus more for kneading
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450. In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until mixture is coarse and crumbly. Add in the egg and milk, beat until combined.

Move dough to a well-floured surface and dust with additional flour. Knead 10-15 times and roll out to 3/4″ thick and cut with whatever you have that is approximately 2.5″ in diameter.

Bake for 8-10 minutes and try to just eat two…

Borrowed From Blogs: Best Birthday Cake

This past weekend was jam-packed with things to do, places to be, and I loved every minute of it. My grandmother turned 90 (!) last week and some of the family got together to celebrate. It all began Friday with the arrival of my super-awesome cousin (and cake decorator extraordinaire) Jana. She traveled all the way from Ohio and spent the night with Tex and I. We decorated, drank wine, played Scrabble, and watched Pretty Woman. Yeah, favorite night in a long time. The next morning we all got up earlyish to head down to my sister’s, where the party was to take place. We fueled up with my own overnight oats recipe, but that is another post.

The cake recipe I borrowed from Smitten Kitchen–I also made it the night before and froze it to save time. I have made a few of her recipes and they always turn out great. She is so talented, in both the cooking and writing realms. You can find her recipe here. The only adjustment I made was the flour. I hadn’t originally planned on using whole wheat, but the grocery store I stopped at was out. of. cake. flour. What is that? I was pretty bummed because I planned on going all out for this cake. I mean, how many people turn 90? Instead of beginning a wild goose (er, flour) chase, I decided to go with white, unbleached whole wheat. The cake still turned out pretty darn good. (I would have been happy with a bowl of the batter… but I garnered an ounce of self-respect and stopped myself. ) The cake was springy, moist, and full of classic vanilla flavor.

Jana came in with the frosting. She brought her own recipe, which was a buttercream we dyed lavender. It is a great buttercream to decorate with; it holds its shape well and spreads easily. That is, unless you add fresh lemon juice; which is what I did and resulted in a semi-soupy mess. Jana saved the day and fixed the cupcakes, but the two-hour ride to Columbus was not kind to them. Droopy frosting aside, they still tasted good–raspberry jam-filled lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream are almost always a guaranteed hit. We topped the cake with fresh yellow roses and made the birthday girl very happy. She’s not one who expects a fuss, but everyone needs a good fussing over now and then.

Best batter, hands down.

I had a bite, or seven.

Perfect pan dismount. I felt like a champion.

Jana at work, making magic happen.

Lavender, the birthday girl's favorite color.

Lavender sugared cupcakes (with polka dot wrappers!)

Happy 90th Birthday, Grandma!

Borrowed from Blogs: To Die For Coconut Cookies (or Coconut Clouds, is what I think they should be called)

I need to get back to the emphasis on the ‘week’ in ‘Recipe of the Week’. My apologies, I am sometimes, if nothing else, a slacker.

Moving on. My most recent recipe was borrowed from Gina’s Skinny Recipes. I only tweaked one ingredient, so I can’t hardly take credit for these scrumptious little meringue bites of heaven. I swapped out corn flakes for Special K Protein Plus. I couldn’t find a small box of corn flakes (apparently they only come in super mondo family size) and the store brand had high fructose corn syrup (no thanks). I felt bad buying a humongous box of cereal that I would never eat, so I took my chances with Special K and they turned out great! The Special K also added a delightful hint of cinnamon.

This recipe was also significant for another reason–it was my maiden voyage with my brand new Kitchen Aid mixer. This baby was barely out of the box before I was mixing away. Don’t worry, I washed the bowls and attachments first. Sigh, such a grown up.

These cookies are light (in the way of density and calories) and incredible. Next time I may add a drizzle of dark chocolate. :o)

Ingredients--including my avocado masher turned cereal grinder.

Folding in the coconut.

Delish.

Light as air.

 

 

 

Giving Thanks, With Pie.

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to have an early Thanksgiving dinner with friends. We decided a potluck-style dinner would be best, which Tex later dubbed the ‘greatest hits album of Thanksgiving dinners’. And it was. Everything that was made was incredible and what’s more is, we were sent home with a bag full of leftovers! Dinner is going to be amazing, or you might say, the encore performance to last night’s show.

I came with two dishes (and wine) in tow. My first dish was the classic green bean casserole. I honestly cannot consider a holiday meal a success without it. It’s nothing of the foodie persuasion; the recipe comes off the back of the French fried onion container, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My second dish, which took a little more time and effort, was Emeril Lagasse’s Pecan-Chocolate Chip Pie, via Martha Stewart and I didn’t dare change a thing (except pair it with homemade cinnamon whipped cream). The holidays are about indulgence (well, just a little) and I wanted this pie to be all that it could be, real butter and chocolate chips included.

Overall, the pie was pretty easy to make. I have made pecan pie before, even a pecan-pumpkin pie hybrid, but never chocolate pecan. It was all I hoped for– rich, nutty, chocolatey and sweet, but not overly so. The cinnamon whipped cream was light, sweet, and spiced, without taking away from the pie’s flavor. I think this pie recipe will be made again, next time with homemade crust.

There are a few things I would do differently next time, but I do not think making this pie ‘healthier’ is an option. It’s loaded with brown sugar and light corn syrup, and I don’t think there’s much that can be done in the way of substitutes there. Even if there are, I may not be interested in finding out what they are. This pie is like skipping work and going on a shopping spree and I think that making it any less indulgent would be insulting. Enjoy!