Gluten Free Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

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The weather has a crispness to it and that can only mean one thing… Fall is here! Sure this Autumn weather tricks us with cold mornings, warmer afternoons and cooler evenings but it is my favorite time of year, and it is actually quite beautiful despite the all the trickery. The leaves have started to change color and are softly floating to the ground. The days are shorter, the nights are longer and suddenly a warm blanket and a good book sounds incredibly inviting. With all these changes I long for meals with subsistence, something that will stick to your bones, like a hot bowl of chili, homemade macaroni and cheese or even a cup of hot chocolate or hot tea.

In my longing for hearty meals I have come up with a wonderful recipe for Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies. These are the perfect soft, chewy and sweet snack that a fall day, much like today, calls for.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, it gets rave reviews every time I make it. Gluten eaters can’t tell the difference, and I bet you won’t be able to either.

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Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies:

You will need:

1 sticks of butter softened

1 cup of coconut oil room temp

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup of packed brown sugar

3 eggs

1 oz. Milk

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1.5 cups Gluten Free All Purpose flour blend

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. allspice

pinch of ground cloves

4 cups Old Fashion Oats

1 cup Cocoa Mill Bittersweet Chocolate Chunks   or raisins.

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Mix butter, coconut oil and sugars until well blended. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla, mix again. Add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves, blend well. Add the oatmeal and mix until all the ingredients are properly incorporated. Add cocoa mill’s bittersweet chocolate chunks or the raisins, mix until well blended.

On a greased cookie sheet place 12, 2.5 inch rounds of cookie dough and bake for 10-12 minutes. This recipe makes about 24 cookies , minus a couple bites of cookie dough. Let cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

 

 

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Cool Summer Treats

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Summer is in full swing and full heat. While hanging out with the kiddos we’ve experimented with making our own popsicles,  this was so exciting and fun, at first but now the newness has worn off. It was so cool to choose 3 different juice flavors or even make a smoothie and freezing it overnight for a much anticipated awesome and unique flavored popsicles, concocted by the youngsters.

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Now that they are tired of these cool fruit flavored popsicles I am looking to fudgesicles. I don’t want to buy them from the store mainly because I cannot pronounce most of the ingredients and I didn’t want to just buy box pudding for the same reason. I am that weird mom that will not buy anything unless I can clearly pronounce and recognize the ingredients. So with that being said here I am writing this blog on how to make fudgesicles from scratch.

And here we go……

Ingredients:

2 cups of whole milk

1 cup of dark chocolate chunks

2 Tablespoons of sugar

2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder

Directions:

  1. Heat the whole milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not boil, just heat until the milk is steamy.
  2. Turn off the burner but leave saucepan in place. Add Cocoa & Sugar whisk together until completely blended.
  3. Pour chocolate chunks into a bowl.
  4. Pour Cocoa/Milk mixture over chocolate chunks. Stir until completely melted and well blended.
  5. Clean edges of the bowl with a spatula and let the chocolate mixture stand for 5 minutes.
  6. Pour into popsicle molds, place popsicle sticks in each compartment. Wait until fudgesicle is completely frozen.

We make our popsicles before bed and let them freeze overnight so the kiddos aren’t left waiting all day…. but 5-7 hours should do the trick too.

I hope this treat is as cool and pleasing to you as it was for my family.

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Enjoy!

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Valentines Made By Hand

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Valentine’s Day has always been special, when I was a little girl my father would always be sure to give me a special gift on Valentine’s Day. He always made me feel loved and appreciated with chocolates, flowers and cards. When I grew older and more responsible he gave me some beautiful pieces of jewelry. Valentine’s Day has become sweeter to me as I’ve grown. I am married and as the years have passed we’ve had children. The depth of love I feel for my husband, children, family and friends continues to grow as I age and  I now see things through different a light.

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
– Aristotle

When my husband and I met, we were soulmates, best friends and inseparable. Neither of us had ever felt anything like this before yet alone ever loved that deeply, we were always together. 1 to 2 days apart was not an option for us because he really does complete me, I am whole when I am with him. He and I truly were made for each other. We fell in love as teenagers and as the days continue to pass and we get a little older every year I can honestly say that we are more in love now than ever before. I am not saying that our lives are perfect or without flaw, but despite hard times we’ve grown closer. we appreciate each other and the beautiful creation that each of us was created to be. We were brought together for a common purpose, to spread light, love, blessings and peace. It started in our hearts, grew when we met and has spread as our family grows and our children get older, they now are spreading light, love blessings and peace wherever they go. It fills my soul to know that love prevails in our family and in our home.

“Young love is a flame; very pretty, often very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep-burning, unquenchable.”
– Henry Ward Beecher

When I was young and in love, I have to admit that I viewed Valentine’s Day a little selfishly, “What will I get” I thought, or “Will the gift show how much he loves me or how important our relationship is to him.” I would try to get things that would impress him and show how much I cared. I wanted to be impressed and to see just how much we loved each other by the measure of material things. I now have a completely different view and to think back on those times gives me sick feeling in my stomach to think that I was that shallow. The bumps and bruises that life hurls at you makes you realize that none of the material things matter. What truly matters are the intentions of the heart. A smile, a warm embrace, a shoulder to lean on when you’ve had all you can take, a sweet gesture, the smile of an innocent child, or even the greeting of your pet after a long day. Love in it’s true form is innocent; “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (NIV 1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
– Lao Tzu

After we were married and had children the materialistic views and longings faded away, rather quickly, and those longings were replaced with gratitude, thankfulness and love, lots of pure, sweet love. As our family grew and life took its toll on us with struggles, triumphs,  losses, broken and mended hearts, we were brought closer together. These trials revealed the depth of love that  we couldn’t have imagined or felt without all the peculiarities life had in store for us.

“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”
– Zora Neale Hurston

This Valentine’s Day the truth remains that the love shown, felt, given and received is the beauty just for you and it is pure and natural and old as time itself. This love is meant to fill up your soul so you can reconnect with the purpose of life, to love and be loved.

If you want to spread love and care to those who are close to you, here are some sweet ideas to help you achieve that.

Heart Shaped Chocolate Chip Cookies:

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 Ingredients:

2/3 cup of butter (or shortening)

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 cup  of brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1  3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. of baking powder

1/4 to 1/2 a tsp. of salt (depending on how sweet you like your cookies)

1/4 lb shaved bittersweet chocolate

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugars together, add egg and vanilla, mix well. Add flour, baking soda and salt, mix well. Add the Chocolate shavings and mix well one more time. Roll out onto a floured surface and cut using heart shaped cookie cutters.

Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. When golden around the edges take out and cool on a wire rack.

After the cookies are cooled place in a clear cellophane bag and tie with a pink, red or white bow. Viola! Gift completed.

These cookie freeze well, this allows you to pull them out and enjoy them whenever you wish. They also make a beautiful and delicious gift for loved ones this Valentine’s Day.

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Melt Your Heart Lava Cakes:

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Ingredients:

Cooking spray, for spraying custard cups
1 stick butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Spray the four custard cups with baking spray and place on a baking sheet.

In a saucepan melt the butter. Whisk in the chocolate until it is also melted. Stir in the sugar until well blended. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolks, then add the vanilla. Stir in the flour.

Divide the mixture among the four custard cups.

Bake until the sides are firm and the centers are soft, about 13 minutes. Let stand 1 minute. Invert on individual plates, serve while warm. Top with fresh raspberries, whipped cream and a mint leaf.

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Chocolate Fantasy Cheesecake:

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Chocolate Cookie Crust:

22 Chocolate Sandwich Cookies Crushed

3 Tablespoons of melted Butter

In a small bowl stir together the crushed cookies and melted butter until well combined. Press the crumb mix evenly on the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan.

Double Chocolate Filling:

19 ounces cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

5 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup chocolate syrup

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

10 ounces Cocoa Mill Bittersweet Chocolate

3 ounces Cocoa Mill Milk Chocolate

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine cream cheese and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition.stir in the sour cream, whipping cream, chocolate syrup, bittersweet and milk chocolates . Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200 degrees F and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the center no longer looks wet and shiny. Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife along the edges of the pan. Turn the oven off and return the cake to the oven to sit for an additional 2 hours. Chill uncovered, overnight.

The next morning make the chocolate sauce topping:

2 Tablespoons Melted Butter

6 ounces Cocoa Mill Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped

4 Tablespoons Heavy Cream

To serve, place chocolate, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and cream in the top of a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir  until melted. Remove he sauce from the heat and let cool slightly.off a bit. Pour chocolate glaze over cheesecake and spread into a circle, leaving a bit of a  border. Chill just until chocolate has set, about 10 minutes.

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If you don’t want to make something or don’t have time:

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Directions:

Go to Cocoa Mill Chocolate Company in Lexington or Staunton Virginia or go online to www.cocoamill.com  and pick up one of many selections of Valentine Chocolates. All made by hand using pure, simple and the freshest ingredients.

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While any of these ideas are sure to impress and show how much you care the greatest gift of all is to love and be loved.

 A Very Happy Valentine’s Day To You!

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Harvest Beans

The day was cooler and I was really craving something comforting and filling for dinner. I had never made this recipe before but I thought I would wing it and see what happened. Turns out it was pretty good and I have made it several times since. These Harvest Beans are full flavored BBQ enhanced bean, the peppers, onions and dark chocolate give it nice complexity that leaves your palate wanting another taste. I hope you enjoy this recipe as the leaves change and a crispness enters the air.

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Harvest Beans:

What you will need:

beef

1 15.5 oz Great Northern Bean

1 15.5 oz  Pinto Bean

1 15.5 oz  Black Bean

1 15.5 oz Kidney Bean

2 tsp. Onion Powder

3 tsp. Ginger

1 tsp. Chili Powder

2 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 tsp. Pepper

1 1/2 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Paprika

4 slices of Ham (hand chopped)

1 1/2 pounds Ground Beef

1 Green Pepper

1 Orange Pepper

1 Medium Onion

5 tsp. Truvia

1/4 cup Molasses

1/4 cup BBQ sauce

1/4 cup Ketchup

1 Tbsp. Honey

1.5 oz Dark Chocolate

chocolate shavings

How to make it:

Pre-heat the oven 250 degrees.

In a sauce pan melt the dark chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. After melted add the BBQ sauce, Ketchup, Honey, Truvia and the Spices. Stir until completely combined into a rich sauce. Set aside.

In a large baking dish place the beans and pour all the sauce over it set to the side and let the beans soak up the flavor for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile chop the onion and peppers place in a skillet along with ground beef. Brown the beef until almost all the pink is gone, the onions are translucent and the peppers are soft and easy to cut. (You may want to begin cooking the onions and peppers 5 minutes or more before adding the beef.) Once done drain the grease and add the meat (ham and beef) and onions and peppers to the baking dish . Stir all ingredients until thoroughly coated.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 2.5 to 3 hours.

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Enjoy!

Chocolate Protein Bars

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Sometimes we don’t need a guilty pleasure, instead we need a chocolate feel good about myself snack. This seemed like it would work for those warmer days when you still need a chocolate pick me up.

Chocolate Protein Bars

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 scoops protein powder (vanilla or chocolate)
  • 1/4 cup Stevia
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 4 Tbsp nonfat Greek yogurt

Directions:

  • 1.Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • 2.Mix almond milk, egg whites, applesauce, peanut butter and yogurt together in a small bowl.
  • 3.In a separate bowl, mix flour, protein powder, Stevia, baking soda, salt and cocoa together and then combine with wet ingredients.
  • 4.Pour mixture into a greased 8″ x 8″ glass dish and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!

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Cranberry Snow Cake

 

Cranberry Snow Cake

 

I found this cake on Pinterest and hunted down the recipe. Oh my goodness this Cranberry Snow Cake exudes elegance and decadence. The colors of this cake make you feel warm and cozy at the same time representing the beauty of the Holiday Season.


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Ingredients

Cake

10 ounce unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pans

3 1/2 cups cake flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar

7 large egg whites, at room temperature

flour eggs butter

 

Cranberry filling

3 3/4 cups cranberries, divided

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups cranberry or cherry preserves

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Butter-cream

5 large egg whites, at room temperature

Pinch of salt

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

12 ounces Cocoa Mill White Chocolate (bars or a blocks), divided

white chocolate chunks

1 pound unsalted butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature

Assembly

1/2 cup colorless liqueur such as crème de cacao or kirsch

About 2 tbsp. powdered sugar

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Butter two 9-in. cake pans; set aside.
  2. Make cake: In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together on low speed until light and fluffy. Add egg whites in 3 batches, scraping inside of bowl as needed. Beat in flour mixture in 5 batches, adding 1/4 cup water after each addition (you will begin and end with flour); make sure flour is completely blended each time before adding water. Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Smooth tops with a spatula.
  3. Bake until center of cake feels firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes completely in pans on a rack.
  4. Meanwhile, make cranberry filling: Combine 3 cups cranberries, the sugar, preserves, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until cranberries pop and preserves melt, 5 to 10 minutes. Add remaining 3/4 cup cranberries, stir to combine, and remove from heat. Transfer to a small bowl and chill until ready to assemble cake.
  5. Make butter-cream: Fill a 2-qt. pan with about 1 in. water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Put egg whites, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine. Place bowl over hot water, making sure bottom of bowl isn’t touching water, and heat whites, whisking constantly, until hot to the touch, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pan and bowl from heat.
  6. Put bowl of warm whites on the mixer and whisk on high speed until tripled in volume and side of bowl is cool to the touch, about 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, chop 4 oz. white chocolate, put in a medium metal mixing bowl, and set in same pan of warm water off the heat to melt slowly, stirring occasionally. Remove bowl from pan and let cool to room temperature.
  8. Reduce mixer speed to low and whisk butter into whites, about 1/4 cup at a time, until incorporated. Continue to whisk on low speed until smooth and fluffy, about 10 minutes (mixture may look grainy at some point but will come together).
  9. With a rubber spatula, gently fold melted chocolate into butter-cream until completely combined.
  10. Assemble: Rub tops of both cakes gently with your hands to remove browned outer surface, then carefully invert cakes and rub undersides so that cakes are completely white. Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate, top side up. Using a pastry brush, brush top with half the liqueur. Spread about 1 1/2 cups cranberry mixture over layer with a metal spatula, leaving a 1/2-in. empty border around edge. Place second cake layer on top, flattest side down, and brush with remaining liqueur. Spread top and sides of cake with a thin layer of butter-cream to seal in crumbs and chill 30 minutes. Cover with remaining butter-cream, starting with the sides and covering the top last.
  11. Use the palm of your hand to warm remaining chocolate. Shave smooth side of chocolate bar with a vegetable peeler to make thin curls; scatter curls over cake’s top. Sift powdered sugar over cake. Serve with remaining cranberry mixture on the side.

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Make ahead: Baked cake layers can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature or in the fridge up to 2 days ahead. Cranberry filling can be made up to 2 days ahead and chilled.

 

Note:

Bakers’ tip: To make a pure white cake, use your fingers to rub off the browned surface of each layer before assembling.

Thanksgiving Dessert: S’mores Pumpkin Pie

 

Thanksgiving Dessert:

S’mores Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie is a staple on our Thanksgiving table, but you know sometimes I tire of the same thing year after year after year. This is a fresh take on the classic pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Pie Purest please avert your eyes to this recipe…. 🙂

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smore fudge

 

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What you will need:

1 ½ cups canned pumpkin

2 Eggs

4 1/2 cups Golden Graham Cereal

¾ cups brown sugar packed

¾ cups Cocoa Mill bittersweet chocolate chunks

1 tsp. pumpkin spice

1 pinch salt

5 Tbsp. unsalted butter

14 Tbsp. Heavy cream

½ cup Milk

1 Bag Jumbo Marshmallows cut in half to top pie

 

 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350®
  2. In a bowl, stir crushed cereal and butter until well mixed.
  3. Press firmly into the bottom and sides of a 9” pie plate.
  4. Bake crust 5-7 minutes. Let cool.
  5. In a saucepan, over low heat, stir chocolate chunks and 2 Tbsp. heavy cream until smooth. Pour onto bottom of cooled crust and spread evenly.
  6. In a bowl, whisk together pumpkin and eggs until well blended. Add brown sugar, heavy cream, milk, pumpkin spice and salt. Stir until all ingredients are combined.
  7. Pour pumpkin batter on top of fudge layer. (Do not over fill pie plate. You may have filling left over.) Bake 1 hour until pumpkin is set. Cool completely. Cover tightly with plastic wrap (do not touch top of pie) chill overnight.
  8. Next day: Uncover the pie and placed halved jumbo marshmallows on top of the pie.
  9. Place under the broiler for 30 seconds until marshmallows are golden brown and toasted.

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Enjoy!