Gluten Free Mississippi Mud Pie

My husband’s favourite pie to me is not a real pie – no fruit, no flaky crust…instead it’s probably a bakers worst nightmare – all  processed…but you know what?! It is pretty delicious! 

It’s simple to whip together and the layers all compliment each other. Plus I have found it to be a hit dessert to take to gatherings! Even my dad who at first turned his nose up at such a dessert is now a believer! He even asks for a second piece! 

Mississippi Mud Pie Recipe 

Ingredients 

2 cups Gluten free graham wafer crumbs 

1/2 -1 cup butter 

1 pack cream cheese softened

1 container cool whip 

1 cup icing sugar 

1 – 4 serving instant vanilla pudding

1 – 4 serving instant chocolate pudding 

3 cups milk 

1) I was only able to find the gluten free graham crackers this time so I had to turn them into cookie crumbs to make the crust. We like a solid layer of crust so I used the whole box of crackers. 

  
2) first layer: combine the graham wafer crumbs with atleast 1/2 cup of melted butter. Press it into a 9×13 pan and chill (sit in the fridge while you prepare the next layer) It should be a nice consistency that easily can be patted down. I pat down the mixture with a fork.  Remember the more butter you add the harder the crust will be once it’s cooled. 

  
3) second layer: whip the softened cream cheese with 2 cups cool whip. Then whip in the icing sugar. Spread this mixture over the crumb crust. chill in the fridge while making the next layer. 

  
I use a spatula to get all of the cream cheese mixture from the bowl 

  
To easily smooth out and get an even coating over the graham crackers I use a butter knife. 

  
See how smooth a butter knife can make it?

  
5) third layer: mix the milk, vanilla pudding and chocolate pudding together. Then spread over the second layer. Chill in the fridge for atleast 10 minutes. 

  

6) I use a spoon to spread out evenly the pudding mixture.  

  
7)  fourth layer: spread out the rest of the cool whip over the third layer. I like to sprinkle semi sweet chocolate shavings on top. I use a small grater. 

  
8) And then put back in the fridge for a few hours to set! Enjoy!! 

  
 Let me know if this becomes a family favourite in your home! 

Summertime Deliciousness ~ BBQ Portabello Mushrooms

Summertime is definitely all about sunshine, warm weather, the great outdoors and bbqing! Nothing like taking your meal to the next level with a delicious but simple portabello mushroom bbq recipe! Its the perfect side for summertime meals! And the best part?! It is simple and quick to make!

BBQ Portabello Mushrooms

Portabello Mushrooms

Balsamic Vinegar

Olive Oil

Grated Parmesan Cheese

1) Wash and clean portabella mushrooms. Drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the mushrooms. Lightly sprinkle parmesan cheese over the mushrooms.

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2) Place mushrooms directly on heated bbq. Keep bbq on low temp. Cook for 20 minutes then enjoy!

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Now you may be thinking – “what to have with these mushrooms?!?” For this meal I decided to go with the mantra of simple so I threw some fresh asparagus in tin foil (After drizzling it with olive oil, sprinkling with parmesan) It will cook the same time as the mushrooms!

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I also used my ActiFry and did up some french fries! No added oil and the fries will turn out just as good if not better (and healthier) compared to deep frying.

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Pan fry some lightly Gluten Free Floured tilapia.

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Then enjoy a wonderful, super tasty meal!

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Sunday Summer Dinner Pizazzed with Stuffed Mushrooms

It’s been a wonderful summer weekend: warm sunny weather, swimming and visits with family and friends. Now it’s almost supper time on a Sunday as the weekend comes to a close…what to have that’s simple but still delicious and ends the weekend meals on a high note…..how about stuffed mushrooms?!? My family love mushrooms and most dinner meals somehow incorporate some mushrooms in it- whether it be in a salad or side dish. On this particular Sunday I have 6 mushrooms to work with….I’ve already decided on Ribs and brocholli but what else can I make with little fuss?!? Not feeling like a salad I decide to make up some stuffed mushrooms!

Ofcourse I only have a part package of mushrooms! But no worries, any amount of mushrooms can easily be stuffed!

This recipe can easily be adapted to taste, spices and with whatever you have in the house! All you need is the base ingredient: cream cheese!!

Stuffed Mushrooms: 

Cremini mushrooms – these are my favourite to use due to thier flavourful taste

Half a brick of cream cheese softened

one shallot diced

one garlic clove diced

Spices ( I like to mix together ClubHouse Roasted Garlic & Pepper, Clubhouse Greek, Clubhouse Italian, Clubhouse Parmesean & Herbs and Mrs Dash Original) – about 2 table spoons for the mixture (more or less depending on how flavourful you like it.)

Pepper – I like to use freshly ground pepper

Shredded cheese

1) Preheat oven to 400 degree.

Clean out the mushroom tops- snap out the stem and with a butter knife gently scrape out the hymenium (the gills).

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2) If you have time, sauté the shallot and garlic in a bit of butter. *You dont have to saute the shallot and garlic but it is a smoother flavour if you do* This time I didn’t saute as I was trying to save time-but my husband prefers the flavour when I do sauté

3) Mix the shallot, garlic into the cream cheese. I find a fork works great.

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4) Add spices and pepper. Mix

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5) Stuff the mushrooms with the cream cheese mixture using a small spoon

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6) Top with shredded cheese – use what is on hand. This time I used old cheddar.

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7) Cook in oven for 30minutes. Then enjoy!

I used to think making stuffed mushrooms would be hard work and only enjoyed them at restaurants. I am so glad that I started to make them – they are so easy and it doesn’t take much time to whip them up!

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Will the Real Baby Nipple Please Stand Up!!

I never expected this….I am shocked how niave I was about introducing a baby bottle to my child. I never expected how difficult this has been.

When I was pregnant, I read so much about breastfeeding. I anticipated my goal of exclusivley breastfeeding would be met with  challenges and I worked hard to be as prepared as I could possibly be. I read as much as I could. I highly recommend Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding revised edition (http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/product.php?prodID=27 ) and his website (http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca ).

At around 4 months we decided to try introducing a bottle. I had an event coming up where I would be seperated from my baby for a few hours. I didnt think much of it – I would start to pump breast milk a couple of weeks in advance and start gently offering a bottle once or twice a day to get her use to it. I confidently felt that by the date of my event that my child if need be could be offered a bottle while I was out.

Boy was I wrong!

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I first started with Medela Calma. Made sense to me – I have the Medela Breast Pump and everything I read about the Calma nipple system made complete sense. It is promoted as a design exclusivley for breast fed infants – it apparently allows them to suck, swallow and breathe as learned on the breast. (http://www.medela.com/IW/en/breastfeeding/products/breastmilk-feeding/calma-feeding-device.html) The major down side of this product though is price – $22 for a whole 1 nipple with bottle or $20 for just a nipple. We try it – nope not interested in the least….we keep offering it…nope no go…

Then we try Avent as we got a couple sent to us via baby sample kits from the mail. I also know a few moms who like this brand and utilize it with thier babies. Again with offering there was no interest and it seems to stream out of the bottle. Which my daughter doesnt like.

On to Tommee Tippee. My best friend swears by this brand and proudly tells me how her daughter took to this brand instantly after trialling a few of the others. I happily go out and buy a bottle. Looks promising, again the promise from the company is that it encourages intuitive feedings (http://www.tommeetippee.ca/product/feeding-bottle/ ) No go…

My Mother-In-Law recommends Nuk. This was the brand she used for her children way back when. At this point I’ll take any and all suggestions. I buy a two pack. This brand will be it…right? Nope. Doesnt even want to try it!

A laction consultant recommends Como Tomo ( http://comotomo.com/o/baby-bottle/ ). It is soft and squeezable and it is apparently a naturally shaped nipple with a wide mound to be like a real breast. This brand is not in regular stores and I had to call around to specialty baby stores. Finally we find a place that sells it. $30 for 2 bottles. At this point what have we got to lose trying it?! We already have a beautiful sampling of brands to showcase. We try it….no go.

So we change tactics – we are done buying any more brands; we continue to gently offer a bottle atleast once a day to see if her disinterest changes. It really hasn’t after almost 2 months. I do more googling and talking with other moms….not all babies will take to a bottle after exclusively breast feeding for many months.

Many happily cup feed, or sippee cup feed by 6 months. The best thing I think we have done is taken the pressure off of us and our child to bottle feed. She will do what she will do. We let her play with a bottle, gently offer it – with no pressure or force! She will take a small bit of breast milk from a bottle now but is still not keen on the whole idea of it.

She doesn’t mind cup feeding….adores being breast fed….so we will just keep doing what we are doing. It will all come together in the end with or without a bottle! 😉

Fluffy Yummy Gluten Free Pancakes

The first thing I made my husband for breakfast when we were first dating was my mom’s homemade pancakes. No pancake mix in a box can even begin to measure up to homemade ones! Then my husband was diagnosed with Celiac Disease…no more baking or atleast for the first while it felt like that. Figuring out gluten free baking has been a science project or maybe science research. But with trial and error, some connecting with others who bake gluten free and lots of reading on the subject, I can now happilly make my family’s pancake recipe again!

Mixing a bunch of gluten free flours really makes the difference I have found. Adding Xanthum gum is the other secret ingredient to get the fluffiness.

Fluffy Yummy Gluten Free Pancakes

Recipe: (adapted from Five Roses Cookbook)

1 1/3 cups GF Flour (I strongly recommend mixing a selection of GF flours to make up the 1 1/3 cup)

3 tbsp sugar

1tbsp baking powder (I strongly recommend magic baking powder brand)

1/2 tsp xantham gum

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg beaten

1 1/4 cup milk

3 tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp vanilla

1) Combine flours – my mixture changes every time – it totally depends on what flavours I have. But the key flours I always include are: Bob Red Mill All Purpose, Chickpea, and Coconut. For todays mixture I used: Bob’s Red Mill, Only Oats Wheat Free, Coconut, Millet, Chickpea and Robin Hood GF flour.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, xantham gum and salt.

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2) In a small bowl combine beaten egg, milk, oil and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour liquid all at once. Mix well. I tend to leave the mixture to set for a few minutes then mix well again.

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3) Using a 1/3 cup dish out your pancake mix into a hot buttered fry pan. Add toppings if desired. In our house one fry pan is for blueberry pancakes and another for chocolate chips! 😉 Our favourite chocolate chips to use are PC Decadent Swirled Milk & White Chocolate chips (they are the best of both milk & white chocolate worlds!)

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4) Serve and enjoy with maple syrup! These do also freeze nicely too (just wrap in wax paper). Side of bacon is optional! 🙂

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I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as our family does! Gluten Free can be delicious!!

Tastey Homemade Popcorn!

Popcorn is so tastey on so many levels! Its a crunchy, buttery, salty delight! Who can go to the movies and not buy a bag of popcorn (with added butter of course!) I am not a fan of store bought popcorn – it always seems like it is missing something. I use to use an air popper to make homemade popcorn. And then my sister-in-law told me about making it in a pot with coconut oil. She promised me it would taste “as good as the stuff from the movie theatre.” I wasn’t so sure – but with some trial and error it is as good if not better than the “stuff from the movie theatre.”

Popcorn is a well loved food. It is promoted as a low calorie, high fibre food. Its easy to make and a simple snack that everyone enjoys!

Coconut oil is perplexing. Its hard to know which brand is best. I have bought some based on the pretty packaging, other times it is based on price. Many never seem to even have a smell of coconut and sometimes I wonder if it is even really 100% coconut oil. At first I never noticed the big deal with making popcorn with coconut oil…but that all changed with the right coconut oil!

I recently purchased PC virgin coconut oil. One reason I selected it was that it was on sale for only $11 for a 860ml jar. A great bargain compared to the other options at the grocery store. When I opened it, I instantly smelled wonderful coconut. And the hint of coconut was evident on the popcorn – it is as good if not better as the “stuff from the movie theatre.

Homemade Popcorn Recipe:

You need: Coconut oil, popcorn, medium sized pot, salt & butter (optional)

1) Put a good scoop of coconut oil in the medium sized pot. (approximately 1/3 cup) you want enough to coat the bottom. A bit extra is fine as it will just help give the popcorn flavour and some coating. Add one popcorn kernel in the pot. Turn the stove on to medium-high heat to melt the oil and to get the kernel to pop. Dont forget to put the lid on it!

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2) Once the kernel pops it means the pot is hot enough to make popcorn! Put a layer of popcorn kernels in the pot and cover. let it pop away until it popping slows to almost stops. Turn off the stove and remove from heat.

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3) Pour pot of popcorn in a bowl. Season as desired. I still like to add a bit of salt and melted butter 🙂

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Enjoy!

Jello + Cake = Amazing!!

So recently I was looking for some new ideas for dessert on Pinterest and was reading about Jello Cakes or Poke Cakes. Sounded interesting – who doesnt like jello and mixing it with some cake sounds pretty tasty!

It is easy to make and the combination is delicious! It is now a current fav in our household. I was telling my mom about this new found dessert and she informed me that she use to make it for us when we were kids. Huh – I have no recollection of this but I must admit eating my jello cupcakes does take make me to a happy place and maybe subconsiously think about enjoying these in childhood.

I have made these now a couple of times and prefer making them with fork pokes over straw pokes. I have found that the straw removes cake where the fork does not. I also use a measuring cup to pour the jello liquid over the cooked cupcakes – I tried a turkey baster but that got liquidy sticky jello everywhere! I have also found using the measuring cup allows the cupcakes to get more saturated with jello and its flavour.

Jello Cupcakes Recipe: adapted from Kraftrecipes.com

Cake Mix – white is best to take on the flavour of your jello; I use gluten free cake mixes and it works great!

Jello – pack of your choice – strawberry and strawberry banana are our current favs to use

1) Make cupcakes as per cake mix package. Once cupcakes are cooked and cooled enough to handle (about 20-30min) take a fork and make little punctured holes (as shown below)

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2) Using a large (atleast 2 cup) measuring cup, stir 1 cup (250ml) boiling water into jello powder. Stir until powder is dissolved then add 3/4 cup (200ml) of cold water and mix. Pour liquid jello carefully onto each cupcake about 2 TBSP per cupcake (or more based on your preference to start). Once every cupcake has been jelloed I then pour a bit extra onto each one. The left over jello in the measuring cup I cool and enjoy as jello later!

It can get a bit messy pouring jello from the measuring cup so I sit the cupcakes into a cookie sheet which will catch all the extra juice. Trust me, cleaning up sticky jello off the counter is not fun!

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3) Put the cupcakes in the fridge for atleast 3 hours – the goal is to get the cupcakes and jello to set. Before serving you can icing with your fav icing. For ours I use my mom’s recipe (as below) for icing – it’s quick to whip up and and oh so delicious!

Mom’s Butter Cream Icing:

1/4 cup softened butter

pinch of salt

2 1/2 cups of icing sugar

2-4 tsp of milk

1/2 tsp of vanilla extract (*for these cupcakes I did 1/4 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp almond extract)

1) whip together with a mixer butter and salt until nicely creamed. Then slowly add (about 1/2 cup at a time) icing sugar. Mix. Add 1/2 tsp of vanilla (or alternative option). Then add 2-4 tsp of milk (for thicker icing add less milk). Mix. When at the icing consistency of your preference then icing your cupcakes!

Now it’s time to enjoy!!

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Hello world!

It’s a very exciting day!

My first blog post!

I’ve spent the last few years talking about getting one: why I should do it; what i’d blog about; how I enjoy reading blogs….and now I have finally broken down and am following through on my idle threats!

I have lots going on – first time mommy, happily married, wonderful family and great friends. I love fashion & makeup, aspire to be an amazing amatuer cook & baker, try to live an active healthy lifestyle and balance being a full time professional working woman. And I live in one of the most beautiful places in Ontario – Muskoka!

So sit back and enjoy!