Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Recipes: Sweet Potato Praline Cake

I want you to run, not walk, to the grocery store and make this cake as soon as possible.  You may need to run some more after you eat it because it is a calorie fest!!  I made this cake for a friend of mine who was visiting from China.  She won't be here for Thanksgiving so she was really hoping to have some holiday and fall foods and this cake totally fit the bill!

The one and only picture I took of it was with my terrible phone camera, but the good news is that I have a new phone on the way with a great new camera so that will no longer be my excuse for terrible pictures, ha!

Sweet Potato Praline Cake

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 3/4 cup gluten free flour (you can use any blend you like, try mine, or for this recipe I used Better Batter)
  • 1 3/4 granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato (you can even use canned, but not sweetened!!!)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • Cream cheese frosting and more pecans for the top


Heat oven to 325.  In a medium sauce pan, stir together butter, cream, and brown sugar.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, just until butter is melted. Pour into two ungreased 9- or 8-inch round cake pans; sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup pecans.

In large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the oil and granulated sugar.  Add the sweet potato, milk, oil and eggs to the beat cake mix, pumpkin, water, oil, and eggs until well mixed.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until blended, about 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly over the praline mixture in each pan being careful not to displace the pecans too much.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack (surprisingly it will come right out of the pans easily! Cool completely, about 1 hour.

To finish the cake, frost the first layer (praline side up) with cream cheese frosting on its top only.  Then place the top layer on.  I prefer only to frost the tops of each layer to add to the rustic look of the cake.  Besides, its pretty rich without too much frosting!  Add a few more toasted pecans on top for decoration!  Here is a great cream cheese frosting recipe from Martha, but feel free to sub your own.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

In Gluten Free News...

Just a couple of cool pieces of GF news to share. First, I finally found the new GF Rice Krispies in the 713!  I snagged a box at the Kroger on West Gray earlier this week.  I have to say they taste just like I remember!

Also, I recently learned that Subway has introduced gluten free buns in a couple of test market cities.  I believe Dallas and Portland.  I was never a huge fan of Subway before becoming gluten free, but I'm always excited to see main stream restaurants like Subway offering gluten free options.  And its always handy to have more convenience options like that.

So, has anyone tried the Subway bread yet??

Last, but not least, Williams Sonoma recently began carrying a gluten free flour!  It is an all purpose blend called Cup4Cup.  It looks a bit expensive, but is probably really good.  I can't wait to try it out and let y'all know how it is.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Restaurant Reviews: Z Pizza

First of all, I just need to say "yaaaayyyy!!!!"  I'm so sorry for the extreme lack of blog posts of late, but yesterday I just finished up the three day marathon that is the Texas Bar Exam.  Before that, I was holed up studying 10 hours a day for the last month.  Not fun but it feels so good to be done.  Now you may be wondering "so Laura, you just took the Bar... what's next?"  Well, to read about that, visit my personal blog here.  Now on to what you really care about... pizza!

I feel like all I've been reviewing lately is pizza, but there are so many new gluten free pizza options in Houston, so it's a great problem to have!

A follower recently introduced me to Z Pizza in West U so we headed over for a casual dinner the other night after bar studies.  It is a VERY casual place, which we weren't expecting but actually appreciated because Peanut just did not want to sit still.  The prices are not cheap frankly for the tiny little pizzas you get, but the service was very quick and the pizza was good.

I would say the crust is most similar to Pizza Fusion if any of y'all went there before it closed.  Thin, but nicely browned.  I really liked it!

As usual I started eating a forgot to take a picture of the whole pizza!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Apologies

I just wanted to say I'm sorry everyone that I haven't been posting much lately and probably won't for the rest of the month.  I'm knee-deep in studying for the Texas Bar Exam and haven't had any spare time to write.  I do have some great reviews and recipes to share though, so I hope to be back up and blogging in August... thanks for understanding!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Restaurant Reviews: California Pizza Kitchen

Yummy CPK Barbecue Chicken Pizza with bacon on the new gluten free crust!

I shared with y’all a few weeks back when I learned that California Pizza Kitchen would soon be debuting gluten free crusts.  Well I’m so pleased to say that yesterday was the first day of the new crusts at our local CPK and we were right there to taste them so I could share this review with you!  I’m so selfless I know, ha!

The new menu is great and clearly indicates which items (besides the pizzas) are gluten free.  There are a good number of appetizers and salads that are marked GF and even a dessert option.  All of the pizzas except one could be made GF and with no upcharge!


So what was the verdict?  Well, it was delicious!  We were prepared for it to be just so so since it was the first day and we thought they might still be working out the kinks, but the pizza came out quickly and tasted great.  The crust is on the thinner side, but not crispy.  We enjoyed the pear gorgonzola pizza and the classic barbecue chicken pizza.  Both were absolutely wonderful.

Since the CPK on West Grey is just down the street from our house, I know we will be going a lot.  I still prefer the flavor of the crust from Pink’s Pizza, but at a lower price tag with a dine-in option, I know CPK will definitely be in our regular rotation.

Here are a few more pictures of the new pizza I captured with my blackberry camera… I apologize there are no pictures of the entire pizzas because like a little piggy I started eating before I remembered to take a picture!

Pear, Gorgonzola, hazelnuts, and mixed greens on GF crust.

I wasn't the only one who enjoyed it!

Stop by and try it soon.  I can't wait to hear what y'all think!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Recipes: Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

I recently shared this easy weeknight recipe on my family blog and I thought I should bring it over here to share as well since it easily converts to gluten free.  This comes together in less than an hour but tastes like it's been baking all day!

Skillet Chicken "Pot Pie"
Serves 4

Pie Filling:

  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken (I use thighs because that's what we prefer, but breasts are fine too - or if you are feeling super lazy, just pull apart a rotisserie chicken)
    • salt, lemon pepper to season
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 shallots minced (but you can use any onions you have on hand)
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (or in my case left over flat champagne, ha!)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de provence (if you don't have that use thyme)
  • 2 cups frozen pea, carrot, corn medley
Biscuit Crust: 

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (I use my standard blend, but insert any gluten free all purpose mix you like and make sure that if it doesn't have it, you add 1 tsp xantham gum)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Begin by making the biscuits.  Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together.  Stir in the cheddar cheese.  Stir in the cream with a wooden spoon until the dough forms.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured area and form a ball.  Knead the dough briefly until smooth.  Then, cut biscuits (I use the top of a glass) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake about 15 minutes.

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and lemon pepper.  Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Brown chicken lightly on both sides and transfer to a plate.  Add the remaining butter to the skillet and heat on medium until melted.  Add shallots and salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch with the wine.  When the onions are ready, stir the liquid mixture in with the onions for about 1 minute.    Slowly whisk in the broth, cream, and thyme, and bring to a simmer.  Place the chicken back into the pan, cover, and cook over medium low about 10 minutes.

Transfer fully cooked chicken to a plate.  Stir veggie mixture into the sauce and simmer about 2 minutes.  Once chicken is cool, shred it into bite-sized pieces and return it to the skillet.  Season filling with salt and pepper to taste.  Either place biscuits on top of the filling and serve from the skillet, or put individual servings into ramekins and top with a biscuit.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ask five different people and you'll hear five different versions of the ideal chocolate chip cookie... so I don't know if this will be your hands down favorite, but I do know that everyone who has tried these cookies has loved them.  You can of course customize them a bit for your own taste.  Don't like nuts?  Leave them out.  Don't like dark chocolate?  Use all semi-sweet.  The dough is very thick and takes a bit of muscle to pull together so enlist a friend (or husband!) if you can, haha.  Lastly, I made these recently but didn't take pictures, ugh... guess I'll have to make them again!  If you're not feeling up to this level of effort for your cookies, I'll be featuring a head to head review of a few gluten free chocolate chip cookie doughs later in the week.  Enjoy!

World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free Of Course)
Makes about 24 large cookies 

  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs Beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups Gluten Free Flour (I Used 1.25 Cups Rice Flour, .5 Cups Potato Flour, .25 Tapioca Starch)
  • 2 cups Gluten-Free Oat Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 bag Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (12 Oz Size)
  • 4 ounces, weight Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup Chopped Pecans
  • 1 cup Chopped Hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 350F and put rack in middle position. Cream together butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Meanwhile, combine gluten free flour and oat flour and stir.
In a small bowl, stir together xanthan gum, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and then add to the flour mixture. Whisk the whole mixture together. Add the chocolate chips and nuts and stir into the flour. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and mix thoroughly (this will take some arm strength and it may seem like there’s not enough liquid but hang in there!).
Using an ice cream scoop, place dough about 1.5 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet (I get 12 cookies to a sheet). Chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, remove, and then bake for 15-17 minutes until the cookies look just set. Cool the cookies completely on the cookie sheet.

In Gluten Free News...

I recently heard a couple of exciting pieces of GF news that I thought I should share.  First, California Pizza Kitchen has announced that it will be adding gluten free crust to its menu!  CPK already has a gluten free menu that includes some very yummy salads and Haagen Daz icecream sundae's for dessert, but I absolutely cannot wait to try their gluten free pizza!  The new crust is set to debut at the end of June and I'll be there to let y'all know how it is as soon as I've tasted it.

The next exciting piece of news is that Kellogg's Rice Krispies will now be available gluten free!  I've been on the Kellogg's website and supposedly they are on shelves now, but I haven't seen them yet anywhere in the 713.  Once I read this I started thinking about Rice Krispie treats of course and when I couldn't find them, I had to make a gluten free substitute.  I hope I'll be trying this recipe out again soon with the new gluten free Rice Krispies, but it worked just fine with Envirokidz Koala Crisp Cereal.  To make something a little different, I used this recipe I found on How Sweet It Is for Cake Batter Crispy Treats.  I adapted it slightly so see below for the changes I made.  They were delicious!  I apologize for the terrible pictures, but my camera wasn't working so I had to take these with my phone, haha!

GF Cake Batter Crispy Treats

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • one 10 oz bag mini marshmallows (naturally gluten free!)
  •  1/3 cup yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix)
  •  1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 6 cups - about one whole box of Koala Crisp Cereal
  • Sprinkles - she measured it but I just eyeballed (the bottle I bought at Kroger was gluten free but you may want to read the ingredients just to make sure)

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in marshmallows.  Continue stirring until marshmallows are melted.  Stir in cake mix one spoonful at a time and then vanilla until well blended.  Stir in cereal and remove from heat.  Continue stirring until cereal is completely coated.  Stir in a good handful of sprinkles.  Pour into a glass baking dish (I sprayed mine lightly with cooking spray).  Then with wet hands, press mixture down until its flat.  Top with a few more sprinkles and cool for approximately 30 minutes.  Then cut into squares and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Let them eat {tres leches} cake!

Cinco de Mayo is almost upon us so for those of you planning a fun get together, this is a delicious recipe for gluten free tres leches cake.  Unfortunately, I will not be celebrating on Thursday (I'm in the midst of law school finals), but tres leches is my hubbs favorite, so I am made it for his birthday last night.  Happy Birthday Sweetie!

I can personally attest to the ease of this recipe because I made it for him last year while holding a newborn the entire time!

GF Tres Leches Cake
*makes one regular sized sheet cake - 9x13

  • For the Cake:
    • 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons gluten free flour (click here for my standard cake blend, if you are not mixing your own make sure that the one you are using has xantham gum or else add 1 tsp)
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 4 large eggs
    • 2 cups buttermilk
  •  For the Topping:
    • 1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
    • 1 can evaporated milk
    • 1 can whole milk (use the evaporated milk can)
    • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
    • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon spiced rum


For the cake:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 sheet cake pan (I prefer to use glass since you will be serving it in this).  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk together to break up any lumps.  In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Beat in the vanilla extract.  Add the eggs and beat well.  Beat in the buttermilk until just combined.  Add the dry ingredients 1/3 at a time, mixing until incorporated between each addition.  Spread the batter evenly in the pan (it will be thick but do your best!!).  Bake 35-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool the cake on a wire rack until room temperature.  Pierce the cake repeatedly with a fork about every 1/2 inch (or just get crazy!!).  Whisk the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk together and pour slowly over the cake to give it time to absorb.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Whip the heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla, and rum until stiff and spreadable consistency.  Spread over the top of the cake.  You can serve immediately, but I like to refrigerate for another 20-30 minutes.

This cake only gets better after a day or so... enjoy!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A GF Easter Treat!

This may be a little last minute for some of you, but I wanted to share a fun and easy Easter treat you can make for or with your kids.  When we were children, we made these with those little fried chow mein noodles.  Obviously, those are not GF so when I decided to make these I had to think of an acceptable substitute.  A quick google search told me that some people make them with pretzel sticks... perfect!  Of course, when I got to Kroger, they only had the regular shaped pretzels and not the sticks.  So, I improvised and these aren't perfect looking, but that's not really the point.  I hope the Hubbs and little Peanut enjoy them!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bird's Nests (gluten free)
*Makes three large nests or 5 or 6 small ones

You Need:
  • 11 oz chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
  • 5 oz gluten free pretzels (I used Glutino brand - if you use the regular shape I would break them up)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • three bowls and wax paper (for large nests) OR
  • a cookie sheet covered in wax paper (for small nests)
  • Egg shaped gluten free candies (m&m's, jellie beans, but NOT robin's egg's) 
  • Marshmallow Peeps are optional

To Make:
  • In a medium sized microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and peanut butter.  
  • Microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Stir.  Repeat in 15-20 second intervals until melted together.
  • Add your pretzels to the peanut butter and chocolate mixture and stir until the pretzels are well coated.
  • If you are making the large nests, spoon the mixture into three wax paper lined cereal bowl and press into a nest shape with a spoon or your fingers and then lick immediately.    
  • If you are making the small nests, simply drop spoon fulls onto the wax paper lined cookie sheet and shape with your hands.
  • Refrigerate for an hour or more until well set.  
  • Remove from the bowls and carefully peel off the wax paper.
  • Add candies and voila!!
Happy Easter everyone!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

GF in the 713 does Portland!

I recently traveled to Portland, Oregon with my husband and son.  As a Celiac, you may be wondering if it's really possible to enjoy a vacation in a city you're unfamiliar with.  I can tell you without a doubt that there are at least three places in the world (I'm sure there are plenty more!) you can enjoy a great GF vacation.  One of them is definitely Portland!

We had such a great time that I thought I'd start a new series on the blog letting y'all know about the places I've traveled Gluten Free and the great restaurants, stores, and more I've discovered along the way.  That way if you decide to take off on a GF vacation you'll have a starting point.

The first amazing meal we had was at a restaurant in downtown Portland, called Pastini Pastaria.  The meal we had at Pastini was probably one of the best I've had since going gluten free.  Nearly every dish on their menu can be made gluten free with no up-charge!  They offer two different types of gluten free pasta, penne and spaghetti, so you can get the proper shape to go with the dish you are eating.  They also offer gluten free tiramisu for dessert!!!  The restaurant is nice, but definitely relaxed enough to be family friendly.

We were in Portland for a wedding, and the reception that we went to had two kinds of gluten free cake from a bakery called Piece of Cake Bakery.  Both the carrot and chocolate cake with raspberry filling were amazingly good!  According to their website, you can also stop in for cake by the slice.

We also enjoyed a wonderful meal of Thai food at Typhoon! restaurant.  They had a very extensive gluten free menu (especially for Thai food) and I ate delicious pad thai noodles. We also had an amazing coconut soup and a wonderful pumpkin curry dish.

Finally, after a long day of traveling up to the mountains, we enjoyed some take-out GF pizza from Sellwood Pizza Kitchen.  We had some very yummy thin crust pizza, but they also offer GF garlic bread, hot wings, and other appetizers.

There are SO many more great gluten free options in Portland and I wish we would have been there longer (and been there only to eat!) so I could have visited them all.  It's a great fun city with tons to do in the downtown area as well as beautiful coastline and mountains to visit.  In short, Portland is a wonderful gluten free vacation spot.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Restaurant Reviews: Ruggles Green

I don't know how I'm just now getting around to reviewing Ruggles Green, but for those of you who have never been, it's basically gluten free mecca here in Houston.  You name it- burgers, pizza, pasta, desserts - and they have it gluten free at Ruggles Green.

Not only is nearly everything on the menu gluten free, it is delicious.  The macaroni and cheese is out of this WORLD!  I often use my non-gf husband as a point of comparison, but let me tell you that he completely agrees.  They are also extremely careful with handling the gluten free dishes, so even if you are the most sensitive type of gluten intolerant person, I think you can feel very safe eating at Ruggles Green.

Ruggles Green is not cheap, but not overly expensive.  We often go for a weeknight meal and with two entrees, a couple glasses of wine, and maybe a dessert we never spend more than $50.  It's a really nice, but casual atmosphere great for family meals or a couple's night out.

So many delicious varieties of crispy delicious gluten free pizza!

Yummy burgers, buffalo burgers, turkey burgers, and other sandwiches... all available gluten free!

Fish tacos, salads, pasta and more!

I hope that if you haven't had a chance to go to Ruggles Green, you'll go soon.  It's been such a blessing for me to have a go-to restaurant where there are so many great options to eat and it's just so refreshing for a restaurant to be so understanding and accommodating to gluten free diners.  If you go, please let me know what you think!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Keeping Up with the Kellehers

Friends, just thought I'd let you know that I'm a little crazy apparently, and I've started another blog.  I just wanted to have a separate blog for family and personal stuff and generally more open ended then just being gluten free.  Hope you'll stop by some time!

Product Reviews: Osem Gluten Free Pound Cake

I realized the other day that I almost always write positive reviews.  I love to share great gluten free finds with y'all, but I think it's just as important to let you know when I discover something that you should definitely steer clear of.  One example?  Osem Pound Cake.

I found this cake at Central Market  a few months ago (don't worry, I ate this a while ago - just took me a bit to get around to reviewing it!).  I thought, "Hey cool! Gluten free pound cake!  That could be something cool to keep in the pantry for last minute guests."  So I picked it up and forgot about it.  Then about a month later I had a major case of the late night munchies and I found this and decided to try it.

Here's the package.   Gluten free and kosher... cool!

Once open it looks very moist and dare I say appetizing...

I cut a slice and it looks and feels like pound cake should, but has a slightly chemically smell to it. Hmm.

Well unfortunately, the chemically smell was merely a preview for the disgusting chemically taste.  I really wanted to like it.  I really tried to like it.  Yuck.  One and a half bites and the whole thing was in the trash.

Bottom line?  If it seems to good to be true (aka gluten free kosher pound cake that's shelf stable for 6 months), then it probably is.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Restaurant Reviews: Pink's Pizza

Okay, it's official: I have a new favorite GF Pizza. If you haven't tried out the new gluten free pizza available at Pink's, now is the time. This is, hands down, the best gluten free pizza in town.

Pink's looks a little ghetto from the outside, but don't let the exterior fool you.  They have great pizza and a lot of unique toppings and combinations.  My favorite pizzas at Pink's are the Hawaii Five O (canadian bacon and pineapple) and the This Guy (proscuitto, italian sausage, rosemary chicken, goat cheese, mozarella, spinach, and roasted garlic).  Seriously yum.  The crust is not exactly thin crust (think Ruggles Green) and not exactly hand tossed (like the Domino's you remember), but its somewhere in between and I personally love it. 

Caveat:  Pink's Pizza is expensive.  Period.  Even the non-gf pizzas are a little pricey, IMO, but with the up charge of $4.50 (for a 12 inch size pie- that's the only one available gf) our pizzas tend to cost around $20.  That's not exactly affordable especially considering that's barely enough for two... at least in our house!

Either way, I'm still going and I'll continue to go to Pink's for pizza.  I firmly believe that the more people that support businesses offering gluten free products, the more demand from suppliers will go up, and economies of scale will force the prices down.  Rice is not inherently much more expensive than wheat.  It's just that wheat flour is so prevalent that its relatively inexpensive to buy, while rice flour is relatively rarely used.

So go forth and enjoy some delicious pizza... its for the good of the GF community!