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Friday, November 18, 2011

Gluten Free "Amaretti" / Almond Cookies Crispy on the outside and soft in the Center!

Thanksgiving is almost here and Christmas is not far behind, so it's time to bake cookies. Loads and loads of cookies. This year I'll be making many varieties and most of them will be GLUTEN FREE. Oh and we're making Amaretti to start, let me tell you, these babies are super delicious, easy to make and yippeeh they are gluten free too.

Amaretti are a staple in Italy, they have a distinctive Almond aroma and are nice and crispy on the outside but have a wonderful soft and chewy center. Wonderful with some hot chocolate or a hot cup of java.

Here is what you need:

400 g ground almonds
300 g superfine sugar
3 tbsp sweet rice flour (I use Koda Farms Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 tsp almond flavor
1 sprinkle of salt

powdered sugar to roll your cookies in

Pre-heat your oven to 325F / 150 C

Once you've weighed out all your ingredients, start by separating your eggs and whip the egg-whites with the salt until very stiff.

Combine all the dry in ingredients in a large bowl, mix the almond flavor and the egg yolks well and ten add to the dry ingredients. Then add the egg whites, combine everything well and form a big ball of dough.

Pour some powdered sugar into a shallow dish and prepare your cookie sheets (I like to line them with wax paper). With moist hands start forming walnut size balls and roll lightly in the powdered sugar, then set them on your baking sheets.

Once you used all your dough and placed the little balls on your bakin sheets, take a glass or a spatula and press down the cookies slightly. Then bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes. The cookies should be nice and crispy on the outside and chewy and soft on the inside.

These cookies are great fresh but keep beautifully for up to a week in a tin or other storage container.
Oh and if you don't have to eat gluten free, you can use regular flour, no need to buy rice flour just to make cookies one time.

ENJOY! And let me know what you think!

Tip: if you want a little surprise inside, put little morsels of chocolate on the inside of the balls and bake as normal.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Semi-Homemade Coconut-Lemon Cupcakes

Now and then we all want something sweet and cupcakes are the perfect size to satisfy that craving for cake. Last night I didn't feel like weighing out all the ingredients so I just thought I'll do something semi-homemade.

After all nobody will notice if you don't tell and you save a ton of time, by using a box and just switching out some of recommended ingredients and adding to it.

Here is what you need for these Semi-Homemade Coconut-Lemon Cupcakes:

1 pkg. Pillsbury Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix
3 Eggs
1 Cup finely shredded Coconut, dry
1.5 cups Coconut Milk
1 tsp. Coconut Flavor
1 Lemon, just the zest
1/3 cup of oil

For the Lemon Glaze:

1 cup  C & H powdered sugar
1 Lemon, juice from the lemon you just zested

To decorate:
Icing (going with the semi-homemade I used store bought)
Coconut flakes
C&H powdered sugar

Prepare the cupcake batter just as described on the package, but instead of the water, use the coconut milk and then add in the coconut flakes, lemon zest. Divide the batter evenly in 2 twelve count cupcake pans and bake as instructed on the package or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

While the cupcakes are baking prepare a lemon glaze with the powdered sugar and the lemon juice. The consistency should be like a thick syrup. Once the cupcakes are baked, remove them from the oven, prick them allover with a toothpick or a skewer and immediately brush with the lemon glaze, so the tops are coated and the glaze will be absorbed into the cupcakes.

Let the cupcakes cool, top with icing and coconut flakes. I found it easiest to dip the iced cupcakes into a small bowl with the coconut flakes, that way you don't get the flakes all over your kitchen.

If you want, sprinkle with a little powdered sugar and with a kitchen torch, toast the coconut slightly. Make sure you set the flame to low otherwise you are going to burn the coconut. I got my torch at

Now arrange on a nice plate, make yourself some coffee and dig in! Bon Apetit!

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Friday, September 9, 2011

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Home made fruit infused Vodka

I had a lot of raspberries, some watermelon and cherries sitting in my fridge and couldn't decide what to do with them so I thought I'd make some fruit-infused vodka. Of course you can buy them in the store, but trust me those don't taste nearly as good as what you can make at home.

Sure you need a little patience, but it is so totally worth it!

What you need is a bottle of decent vodka, some sugar, fruit like raspberries, watermelon, cherries, blackberries etc., maybe some mint leaves and a few empty jars.

For the Raspberry/Mint Flavor:

Rinse the raspberries and a few mint leaves, put them in a jar, add 2 tbsp of sugar and then top off with vodka until all the berries are covered, close the lid and shake lightly so all the sugar dissolves. Store in the fridge for about 4 to 5 weeks and it's ready to use.

For the Cherry Flavor, wash your cherries, cut in half and discard the pit, then add them to the jar with the sugar (you can leave that out if you don't want it) and proceed the same as with the raspberry flavor)

So all in all I made 3 flavors: 

Raspberry Mint

And for Labor Day I made myself a refreshing drink!

Add a few ice cubes to a glass, a shot and a half (or so) of the raspberry vodka (that all depends on how strong you like your drink) add a few of the drunken berries, a spritz of lime, and top of with tonic water! 

Delicious and very refreshing! Also the vodka tastes GREAT just as a shot as well!

Try it, it's easy and adds some personality to your vodka. On top of that you'll get to brag on how you made an Artisan Product!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Streuselcake with Plums

This time of year we have so many different fruit and I wanted to make something that I hadn't made in a very long time. Something that reminded me of home, of my grandmother and sunny afternoons out on the patio with a cup of coffee and cake.

I had some fresh plums at home and wanted to use them, so I decided to make a "Streuselkuchen" a Streusel Cake with fresh plums, as I think Streusel alone is a bit boring, when you add some fruit to it, like plums, apricots, apples etc. the tart/sweet flavor of the fruit and the light sweetness of the cake make it so much better.

So here  is what you need for the dough/batter for a 9 inch spring form pan:

250 g Flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar (I prefer  C&H superfine)
50 g butter, unsalted cut in small pieces

1 envelope of Red Star Yeast
200 ml milk, lukewarm
dissolve the yeast in the milk

1 egg, slightly beaten

In a bowl combine the flour, salt and sugar, then while mixing (I used the paddle attachment on my KitchenAid Artisan) add the little butter pieces, slowly add in the milk/yeast mixture and then the egg. Mix the dough well until all the butter pieces are well incorporated and the dough is nice and smooth.

Spread the dough in the prepared spring form pan and let it rise until it is double in size.

While the dough is resting you can prepare your "Streusel" and your fruit topping.

For the "Streusel":

40 g flour
60 g sugar
60 g ground almonds
50 g melted butter, unsalted

Mix the flour, sugar and almonds in a small bowl, pour in the melted butter and stir until little lumps form, set aside.

4 medium size plums, cut in eights

Once your dough has risen to about double the size, arrange your fruit on top of it in a nice pattern, top with "Streusel" and bake on the middle rack of the preheated 425F/220C oven for about 30 to 35 minutes.

Cool down and serve! But it also tastes fabulous right out of the oven! And it will look like this!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kung Pao inspired Beef Stir-Fry

The other day I went to the Stater Bros. and walked by the meat counter on my way to the vegetables. It was pretty early in the morning and I was already thinking of what I could make for dinner. I wanted to switch it up, getting tired of chicken and turkey. So while I was walking by the little red "On Sale" sign caught my eye and it was for "Flap Meat".

It looked lean and reminded me of the pre-marinated "Carne Asada" I used to buy at Trader Joe's and apparently that's what it's used for A LOT. At least that's what the butcher told me, he informed me that it's actually a really tender and great cut of meat and great for many different preparations. Like roulade, carne asada, fajitas etc. etc. So, I got some and thought all day about what I could make.

Why not use some Asian flavors like Kung Pao Style, I love that kind of spicy, the red pepper flakes,  the peanuts, the little sweetness from Sesame Oil. YUM! So that was my inspiration!

Here's what you need for 2 people:

2 - 3 pieces of flap meat, cut in strips
1/2 large onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp vegetable oil and 1 tsp sesame oil, for frying
1 bunch of spring onion (scallions), cut in rings
red pepper flakes
salt & pepper
2 tsp peanut butter
1 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium works also)
crushed peanuts

Put a big wok or a big frying pan and heat the oil (mix the two above), once the oil is hot, throw in the onion and sautee until the onion is translucent, then add the garlic. Make sure you don't burn the garlic cause it's going to get bitter and ruin everything. Once the garlic is sauteed just a little, add the flap meat (if you have a large pan you can add all at once, otherwise I recommend you do it in portions).

In a wok, work with portions and move the cooked pieces up the sides of the wook to keep warm, then add more meat. Add the pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, then add the peanut butter and the soy sauce. Stir the meat in the pan so that the peanut butter and soy sauce gets on everything.

Just before serving add the scallion and crushed peanuts. Serve over rice and maybe add some steamed edamame on the side.

Bon Apetit!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Joy Bauer's Food Cures / New York Times Best Seller

Nutrition and Cooking is obviously something that's very important to me (hence this blog). I try a lot of different things and I try to cook and bake things that are reasonably healthy. Some of my friends have certain food restrictions like Celiac Disease and so I informed myself about that too. I had posted some recipes on this blog and it got noticed.

So I had the great opportunity to review Joy Bauer's Food Cures: Eat Right to Get Healthier, Look Younger, and Add Years to Your Life

. It took me a bit longer to go through the book than what I had expected, but that's due to the fact that she gives so much wonderful information. What is great about the book is that Joy's suggestions are easy to follow, the book is written in language everyone can easily understand and it's not riddled with scientific expressions we have to look up in a dictionary.

I had a few little ailments particularly uneven skin tone, breakouts, weak nails and hair breaking off. SO I started with the chapter about healthy skin and hair. And then I began incorporating items from Joy's food list into my diet, not that I didn't eat them before, but just not enough of them. Because I was just plain lazy. Joy's Grocery List makes it very easy to choose the items you need and you'll see there are so many suggestions that you are bound to find a few things you like. In every category there is so much to choose from.

Don't like tuna or sardines, the you can choose wild salmon and crab, or herring or tilapia. Hate carrots and cellery? Eat Avocado, mushrooms and collard greens, there is something for everyone.

So I stocked my fridge with baby carrots, persian cucumbers (I like them because they are small and I can just easily take them with me and cut them up at work), edamame came in easy prepackaged portions and greek yogurt is my new favorite snack. For our dinner options we increased out fish servings to about twice a week, evenly split between salmon and tilapia. There are so many different way you can spice your tilapia, because the fish itself is very mild and it will take on whatever seasoning you like. You can steam it, bake it, grill it and fry it in a pan with little to almost no oil and it tastes great.
The book contains many many recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a ton of snack suggestions as well. Thus I eat more variations of nuts now, Brazil Nuts are my new favorite. I've tried some of them and they are so easy to follow, even a Non-Cook can prepare them with ease. Also try Joy's other book "Slim and Scrumptious" for more recipes.

One of our favorites is Joy's Beef Stir-Fry. It is so easy to make and you can very easily make many different variations of it, like adding in mushrooms, substituting edamame for the sugar snap peas, or cauliflower for the broccoli.

My snacks now contain a lot of veggies, I make fresh juice from carrots, apples, tomatoes etc and I drink a lot of water and unsweetened caffeine free herbal tea.

The results are great, my skin tone has evened out, the dark patches are gone and I hardly ever have a breakout. My nails don't peel and split anymore and they grow and are healthy. And you want to know the best thing about it, it wasn't half as hard as you think it is! And as a positive side effect my joint problems are diminishing too due to the fact that a lot of foods help with many common ailments that affect us.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to feel better, live better and combat common issues with better nutrition. You can help yourself by eating healthy and delicious at the same time. A health diet doesn't have to be plain and boring. Joy Bauer's Food Cures will show you that you can eat healthy and delicious at the same time.

Check out Joy's Website at for many more suggestions, great articles, a free diet profile and so much more. You can also follow Joy on twitter @joy-bauer or follow her on facebook.

Have a healthy and happy Summer!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Little Aussie Bakery & Cafe / Sampler Review

My girlfriend Ulani lives in San Antonio, TX with her fabulous husband Walt and even though they don't have to be gluten free, just like I don't have to either,  they like to explore gluten free options so we all know places to visit when our friend Brenda comes to town. She's got to be gluten-free and having options that are great for her as well are just wonderful.

Ulani recently posted a link on her FB Page to "The Little Aussie Bakery & Cafe" (click on their logo or the link to go to their site) and they were offering a sampler package for shipping. All you have to cover is the shipping cost and at only $10.20 that's really nothing. I just had to order it, cause so far I really haven't had a great  gf pizza crust and on top of that, there were cookies in that sampler too.

I ordered my sampler on Tuesday and yesterday, Thursday the package was waiting for me when I came home. Wow! That's what I call customer service! Inside the package were a pizza crust, some rolls, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies and hungerbuster bars (I ate one of those for breakfast, yum!).

The pizza crust didn't make it very long....
 I love pizza and haven't had any in a while so I heated up my oven according to the instructions, put my toppings on  and off in the oven it went. 12 minutes later, just like the package said I had a GREAT little personal pizza.

The crust was delicious, not too thick, nice an crunchy on the bottom and a little chewy, it didn't get soggy or broke apart or got dry or anything. I tasted really fantastic.

YUM! Anyone wants to try for themselves, order your sampler package and try!

Right now, I am chomping away on a Anzac/Oatmeal Cookie and that is great too. Very crunchy, just the right amount of sweetness and a hint of coconut, awesome with a cup of coffee or some tea. I'll encourage anyone to order their sample and I'll be back for some more too.....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Garlic Sauteed Tomatoes and Edamame over Barley

Getting back into my training program and also wanting to not eat meat poultry or fish everyday, I thought I'd make a vegetarian dinner yesterday. I didn't have time to go to the grocery store so I'd wondered what I could make with things I already had in my fridge and freezer.

My husband wanted broiled Tilapia, so I made something I thought he could have as a side dish and  I could have it as my main meal.

I found some fresh tomatoes, frozen shelled edamame and uncooked barley, and obviously there is lots of garlic and also onion.

To make the sautee you need the following:

2 firm, ripe tomatoes cut in cubes
1/4 large onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic finely chopped or pressed
1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh edamame
tsp sesame oil (just for flavor)
salt & pepper
tbsp soysauce

Start out with chopping your onions and your garlic and set aside, then cut you tomatoes into small cubes. You can take out the seeds if you like, but I didn't do that, as the Roma tomatoes I used didn't have a lot of seeds.

Once you are done with all the prep work, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pan or a wok, sautee the onions and the garlic until the onion becomes translucent. Add the edamame and the sesame oil and let sautee for about 5 minutes, add the tomatoes and cook a bit longer until they are soft but not mushy, season with salt, pepper and a splash of soysauce.

Serve on a bed of cooked barley, brown or white rice, or even over pasta if you like!

Bon Appetit!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A day at the San Diego Safari Park / Stacked Rhinos

Two weeks ago the opportunity arose to drive South to San Diego County and visit the San Diego Safari Park, which is the sister institution to San Diego Zoo. The 405 towards the North was closed so Horseback Riding was a no go for the weekend and a Zoo visit had been on the agenda for a while. We get a Membership every year, which by the way is a great deal as it lets you visit the park and the Zoo as often as you want. So driving down to San Diego County to spend time with dear friends and seeing some wildlife at the same time was a no-brainer.

I made it to the Safari Park in no time and met up with my group of friends right as they were heading to the Elephant exhibit. It's beautiful to see these giants being so gentle with there babies. We saw that the herd had had 3 new babies this spring and compared to their mothers they were just tiny. Everything was great in Elephant Kingdom, with the exception of Dad, he was very unhappy that he had been separated, but he's a treat to the little ones and he has to be kept away.

On we went down the hill to check on some acrobats and then it was up the hill to get something to eat and look at a few other things....

Always amusing are the Meerkatz. The play with their boxes, play hide and seek or sit casually in the sun and amuse themselves. I am sure they think of us as their personal entertainment. We watched them for a while and moved on to feed the Parakeets. Well I didn't because for some odd reason, I just can't handle flying critters that close to me at all. Not even Butterflies! I love to see them and they are beautiful, but the thought of them landing on my head, my arms or shoulders just freaks me out.... I guess we all have our cross to carry. Arriving at the wooden bridge we made our way over to the Gorilla enclosure and passed some pretty domestic ducks on our way. They were were curious and didn't even care a camera coming within inches of them.

I think I woke her up.

And this little one wants something to eat.

We didn't see much of the Gorillas as they were all taking naps. The only one really visible was the Silverback and he was napping as well, so unfortunately I did not get a good shot of him. Slowly we made our way down to the tram Safari and there was almost no waiting, on a Saturday.... WOW!

The tram takes you along the large enclosures, and we had the opportunity to see the baby Giraffes, some Somali Wild Ass with their babies, Water Buffalo, Zebra's and Gazelles. Our Tram driver gave us a lot of information about the different species and the breeding programs the Zoological Society is involved it.

We saw a lonesome Rhino in an enclosure and she explained to us that this is their oldest bull and that he had had a lot of babies with the females they have at the Zoo already, so they brought in a newcomer and had to separate him from the herd. Hoping the new bull would mate with the ladies to keep genetics fresh...... Little did we know what we would see at the end of our ride.

We were almost to the end of our ride, passed by the King of the Jungle and then suddenly the herd of Rhinos comes into view......

Looking over to the herd we noticed that the new male was already impressing the ladies. I guess we don't have to worry about the genetics of the Rhinos in the Safari Park anymore, as he was already mating with one of the females.

Getting off the Tram we asked our two youngest visitors of the day which animal they liked the most to which one answered.... "The ASS", the other little girl took a bit more time with her answer until she finally said:

"The STACKED Rhinos"!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oatmeal Cake with Apples n Honey

Hello my fellow bakers,  I know it's been a while, but we're busy at work and then we are looking for a home to buy, so baking has taken a little bit of a back seat lately. But I figured something out that is super easy to make and tastes delicious.

This cake is super easy to make and doesn't even require you to take out a mixer. All you need is a measuring cup, a bowl and the most basic of ingredients...

1 cup rolled oats or instant oats (I used BetterOats, Instant Oatmeal in Cinnamon Spice)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk (I use fat free)
butter (or pam for spraying the pan)

Then you add in what you like, depending on taste:

I added:

1 medium size apple diced
2 tablespoons of Honeyville Apple Cinnamon Whipped Honey (dissolved in the milk).

I tasted Honeyville Honey the first time almost a year ago, while on vacation in Durango, CO. We drove by the store and I just stopped by to check it out, even though I usually don't like honey. Honeyville totally changed that! I bought multiple jars of their "Whipped" honey and I was hooked. I didn't have luggage to check on my flight out to California and stuffed the jars in my carry on, forgetting I couldn't take them in the cabin. But I wouldn't be parted with this little jars of liquid gold so I checked my bag and kept my honey. THANK GOD! Unfortunately you won't be able to find this delicious treats in your grocery store, but you can order Honeyville Honeys on their website at or by clicking directly on the logo.

OK, after the little detour and my story about how one taste of Honeyville deliciousness changed my opinion about honey, lets get to making the batter:

Mix the oatmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and if you use unflavored oats add in two tablespoons of cinnamon. Once you mixed that well add in the egg and the milk, stir well so everything is well combined. Add the diced or grated apples and bake in a pre-heated 375F oven for about 40 minutes or until a wooden skewer/toothpick comes out clean.

Cool and enjoy! The cake tastes even better if you wrap it in foil and let it sit in the fridge for 2 days as the aroma gets better!

And the result is this:

Variations: Leave out the apple, add in apricots, cocoa powder chocolate chips, sliced almonds, any kind of nuts. The options are endless!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Grilled Chicken Breats marinated in a Coconut Milk/Jamaican Jerk Marinade

YUMMY is all I can say. I adapted this recipe from it's original and it turned out just fabulous. As we all striving to get in shape for the summer season we're eating a lot lighter for dinner and this is a great variation on your regular, "Bla" Chicken Breast.

Oh and did I tell you it's easy to make. Lately Chicken Breast have been on sale in bulk packages and we eat a lot of it. But it does get boring when it all tastes similar. So I thought this would work well next to a salad instead of in cubes in a salad.

You will need:

2 -3 Chicken Breasts
1/2 cup Coconut Milk
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
Red Pepper Flakes
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Put the coconut milk, soy sauce, a generous amount of jerk seasoning, allspice (a few dashes), ground black pepper, red pepper flakes and a little salt in a blender (I like the BULLET) and combine well.

Clean your chicken beast, put them in a clean ziploc bag and pour in the marinade in the bag. Make sure all the chicken is nicely coated and refrigerate for a couple of hours, or better overnight.

When you're ready to use them, fire up your grill or preheat a grill pan and cook the chicken breast until fully cooked (about 7 minutes each side) and serve with a nice side salad.

I sprinkled some almonds on my plate and garnished the salad with some roasted sunflower seeds and sprinkles of parmesan. Use your favorite low fat salad dressing..... And there you have it!

Bon Appetite!

I used:

Thai Kitchen Pure Coconut Milk, 13.66-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12) 
Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk
 Magic Bullet MBR-1701 17-Piece Express Mixing Set
The Magic Bullet
 Jamie Oliver Knife Block, 6-Piece Set
Jamie Oliver Knives

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mini Lime/Sour Cream Pound Cake with glazed Limes

This is my first try at this little cake and it looks nice doesn't it.... However it came out a little dry. So I'm going to have to perfect the recipe before I publish it..... maybe throw in some coconut too.....

Lime and Coconut should work well together or what do you think? Let me know!

Sur La Table_Brand_468x60

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Semi-Homemade Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake

Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake
Look at this beauty! Super easy to make and nobody will ever know that it's not made from scratch. I wanted to make a quick cake to take to the office and didn't have time to make something from scratch, so I searched through my cupboard and dug out a box of Betty Crocker Devil's Food Cake mix. I used the regular version, but the gluten free one works just as well.

I then proceeded with the instructions on the box, switching out the water for milk, an adding a cup of roasted and ground hazelnuts, as well as about a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Pour your batter in a prepared baking dish, sprinkle with slivered almonds and bake as instructed or until a wooden pick comes out clean. Cool and serve.

Best with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk! Enjoy!

Tip: If you don't have hazelnuts use almond meal, it tastes just as nice.