Monday, May 28, 2012

How to have a Gluten-Free & Healthy Pampered Chef Show!

I've been to a few Pampered Chef shows at friend's houses where I can eat nothing.  I just smile and pretend all that food is not making me hungry! Ahh, darn you gluten!  Ever had the same experience?  Well, when I found out my friend Lisa was a PC Consultant and also a real food enthusiast, I decided to see if we could pull off a healthy Pampered Chef show!  And, we did!!  Not everything was low-carb but everything was gluten-free, microwave-free, and frankenfood-free! Now you can do it, too! I hope lots of people see this post and get more real food Pampered Chef parties going!

Pampered Chef does a lot of demos with quick microwave dinners.. it's very impressive if you are into that sort of thing.. but I personally believe you can pull dinner together in less than 20 minutes- or at least with less than 5-10 minutes prep and less than an hour cooking time.  You all know this, by my recipes!  So many people think that home cooked meals take too long.  Well, I am here to tell you they do not.  I do it three times a day while also singing opera gigs/going to auditions, singing church services, wedding and funerals weekly, running this blog and facebook page, teaching voice, and also a PT Stay at Home Mom (until 1:00 pm). I am seriously busy.  So, you can do it, too.

Lisa came over and made us some amazing things... I forgot to take pictures because I was having so much fun!!  Luckily, Lisa loaned me some of her pans to recreate some of the dishes we made!  So, now I have pics!  And, recipes.  :)  And, if you are reading this before June 1st, 2012, you can actually buy something from my show and have it delivered to your house!  (What a great way to support my blog! Gee, thanks!)   Just go to and the host is Rachel C (me!). Make sure youhave it shipped to you, not me!!  These are easy quick and yummy recipes:

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos with the Grill Pan
Appetizer: Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos

10 Jalapenos, halved, with insides and seeds removed (the white pith & seeds are the spicy part)
1 block cream cheese, soft
green onions
garlic powder
salt & pepper

In a bowl mix softened cream cheese, chives, and seasoning. Spoon mixture into peppers and wrap with half slice bacon (or a whole if you are a bacon lover!)  and bake them at 425˚F for 20 minutes or until bacon is cooked!

We used the Grill Pan & Press and these super-cool tongs that close automatically when you put them down, and automatically open back up, when you pick them up.  What a great idea! Less mess on your counter, now they fit on your spoon rest! quote:  A one-handed gravity locking system locks and unlocks the tongs simply by changing position up or down.

Appetizer:  fresh pineapple sliced with super-cool Pineapple Wedger.

Main Course: Mediterranean Chicken
This originally called for using olive oil, but as heating olive oil creates free radicals and makes teh oil rancid, I suggest doing it this way instead: coconut oil in pan, olive oil for taste poured over dish after it is cooked.  We also used the grill pan, press, & tongs for this recipe.

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
16 - 18 large Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
3 Tablespoons capers, rinsed
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
splash olive oil (optional)
4 (4-6 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
sea salt & freshly ground pepper

  1. Pre-heat oven to 475˚F
  2. Toss tomatoes, olives, capers, and 2 teaspoons of coconut oil in a bowl.
  3. Season chicken breasts on both sides with sea salt and pepper.
  4. Heat Pampered Chef Grill Pan (or other large, oven-proof skillet) over high heat.  Once hot, add 2 teaspoons coconut oil and sear chicken on both sides.
  5. Turn heat to medium-high and add remaining oil (should be hot but not smoking) and continue to cook until deep golden brown (about 4 minutes).
  6. Use tongs to flip chicken, then add tomato mixture to skillet.
  7. Transfer skillet to oven and place the Grill Press on top to roast chicken until cooked through and tomatoes have softened, about 15- 18 minutes.
  8. Transfer to plates and spoon tomato mixture over top. Optional: drizzle olive oil on top.  Serve.

These are two desserts I pre-made in her FABULOUS cookware.  This brownie pan makes individual brownies so everyone gets an edge! And, you could make all kinds of things in there: meatloaf, crustless quiche... if you have more ideas, post them!
Here's my coconut sugar brownies made in the pan, and the following picture is the re-make my husband insisted I do and he also insisted that I take pictures of him taking them off the plate, lol.  Yes, they are that good.  Some are with walnuts, and some without in the second photo.

This recipe was an old favorite I used for years which I eventually converted to spelt flour (when I thought it was just wheat I couldn't have) and then for this show, I converted them to almond flour.  I used coconut sugar, which has lower g.i.  The reason these are so good is because of the cocoa powder, high fat oil (butter or coconut) and granulated sugar. So, subs of honey, sugar alcohol, stevia, etc or different oils will make them not good.  Mmmkay?  It's coconut sugar & high fat or bust here, folks.  Original recipe from

TIP: Make SURE your almond flour is room temperature, or these will NOT come out.  Very sad when that happens.

Best Cocoa Brownies, now gluten-free

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter or coconut oil (no subs!)
1 1/4 cups coconut sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1 cup almond flour, room temperature
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Special equipment: Pampered chef brownie pan

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease all squares with coconut oil (not too much).
Combine the butter, coconut sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.
Stir in the vanilla with a wooden (or fabulous bamboo) spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula (really!). Stir in the nuts, if using. Spoon even amounts into each brownie indention in pan.
Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 12 to 18 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack. Use a silicone or bamboo spatula to pop them out.  Makes 12 edge brownies.

Silicone Floral Cupcake Pan

I also used this amazing silicone floral cupcake pan to make cupcakes. Um, beautiful.  Wish I had taken pics.  Instead, I made blueberry muffins later and took pics. (link).  I also used this to make gorgeous fat bombs.  I love this pan. I love it, I love it.  Not only is it beautiful, but it has a rigid outer circle so you don't have to put it on a baking sheet and your muffins don't fly all over the place when you take it out. here's me taking out my blueberry muffins by simply pushing from underneath. ------>
Here's a pic of 2 roses and a daisy (also makes sunflowers):

Thanks for reading this! Please comment, and if you want to buy something from my PC show, go here to and the host is Rachel C (me!).  Make sure you ship to you, not to me!  Some other favorite things I have bought from Pampered Chef include the awesome and inexpensive bamboo spoon set (and everything bamboo!) and the silicone basting brush- pure genius.

Stuffed Squash Blossoms

I get so excited each summer when I see squash blossoms on sale at the Farmer's Market!  Have you ever had them? A squash blossom is a flower that grows into a squash!  This is not my first post on lovely stuffed squash blossoms, but we made them differently this year and I thought they were worth posting again.
You can use any kind of soft cheese for this stuffing.  This recipe came from the farmer (his included flour) and originally called for ricotta, but my DH really wanted me to use cream cheese, so I did. Also it did not require a trip to the store (bonus!).  My DH said this appetizer was so darn good, it ruined dinner, because nothing could compare to it! Ha!
TIP: Last time I used millet flour for coating and frying and it turned out much better than the nut flour.  The nut flour clumped, and scraped off a bit in the pan. BUT if you must have it low carb and can't handle millet flour, it was delicious this way! Just scrape out any flour that falls off and put on top of your blossoms after they come out of the pan.  Remember that this dish is to be served immediately. So plan your meal accordingly.

This many squash blossoms as an appetizer feeds a lot.  I will admit that we ate them all though, just the two of us!
We also wrapped some in bacon!  Mmmmmm....

Stuffed Squash Blossoms
serves 4 - 6 as an appetizer

1/2 cup cream cheese (or ricotta, or goat...)
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
sea salt & black pepper, to taste (can start with 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon each)
1/4 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
10 - 15 large squash blossoms, washed gently, turned upside down to get the water out.
high quality coconut or palm oil for frying
millet or nut flour (see note above), around 1/2 cup
a small egg
milk or cream, can be soured if raw

In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, garlic, salt & pepper, mushrooms, and parsley.  Open the blossoms and spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture into the center of each.  Avoid overfilling, you need to be able to close them.  Twist the top of each blossom together to close.  Set aside.
Prepare two bowls: One with flour plus salt and pepper to taste, and one with milk and beaten egg.  Dip each stuffed blossom into the milk batter, then the flour.
Pour oil into a skillet to the depth of 1/2 inch thick.  Heat over high heat until a little flour sprinkled in will turn brown within seconds.  You want it hot, but not smoking, be careful that it doesn't get too hot. Place stuffed blossoms into oil carefully, one by one - don't crowd the pan, you will have to do a few batches.  Cook until golden on all sides, about 3 minutes.  Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain briefly.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve while hot!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Birthday Smash Cake for my 1 year old

Yours will be prettier if you follow my directions! ha.

Robby turned ONE! I wanted to make a gluten-free, low-sugar smash cake for him, but didn't see anything on the web I liked except this one, which I converted to american measurements with google and my imagination... heh heh.  I tried baking it at 350˚F and it was a no-go, so definitely stick to 340˚F.  It's very low sugar, and most likely paleo/primal (I think?) except for the icing.  I tried and tried to make a meringue icing that was low sugar to keep it dairy free and failed a million times... I tried honey - everyone proclaimed, "no kid would eat this!" even though mine liked it ok.  I tried coconut sugar- too heavy.  I tried powdered coconut sugar - still too heavy.  So, for my dairy-free nephew and a low-sugar/dairy-free cake for other kids who came, I made this cake with a meringue topping made of egg whites and "raw" cane sugar.  I'll post that too, in case you want to try it.  And, for Robby, I made a whipped cream topping with stevia.  The other icing was WAY too sweet for him.  He has no idea what "american sweet" is, and I hope to keep it that way as long as possible!
I was low on time, so I whipped my icing too fast and it made almost butter.  Don't do that, and yours will be prettier! If you whip it correctly, you can put it in a pastry bag and use a star tip and get all fancy.  Mine didn't care, he just wanted it In.His.Mouth.  He loved it. :)
Happy Birthday, Robby!!!

If you really need a low-sugar dairy-free icing, and your kid eats everything and thinks stevia is sweet and fat bombs are candy, you can try subbing half as much honey in the icing recipe (try to get some lighter colored honey) or try this icing with or without orange zest.

This recipe makes a 7" or 8" cake, or half for a 6" cake.  I used the whole recipe for a 5" smash cake (tall) and a short 7" cake.  When I say tall, I mean it is as tall as two layers, and short is as tall as one layer.

UPDATE: Since I wrote this post 2 days ago, I have found 2 coconut milk icing recipes.  I will try them and post!

Smash Cake

2 1/2 cups + 1 Tablespoon almond flour
3 eggs
3 Tablespoons high quality coconut oil or butter
2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons honey
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 340˚F (170˚C).  Grease your cake pan(s).  Blend coconut oil/butter and honey until creamy.  Add eggs while beating, one at a time.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Pour into pan(s) and bake for 15- 20 minutes or until a toothpick is clean - it will still look wet inside the baking cracks so definitely test it.  If you are baking a half recipe or a short cake, check at 10 minutes, or better yet, just keep an eye on it.  They will rise.  This cake keeps about 5 days in the fridge.

Low Sugar Icing

1 cup whip/heavy cream
liquid or powdered stevia to taste
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip cream on medium-high until soft peaks are formed.  Add vanilla and stevia.  Best to do this right before or not too long before serving.

Dairy Free Icing: Meringue: go here for tips on making meringues: important info.
If you plan on subbing here, I hope you read my notes above first

2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup raw cane sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Whip egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar slowly while whipping, then add vanilla.  Continue whipping until shiny and stiff peaks are made when lifting the whisk.  You can whip this for up to 20 minutes, but mine looked fine for icing after about 10 minutes of super-high KitchenAid speed.  Best to do this right before or not too long before serving.

Smash Cake on left, Whole Foods cake center, Dairy Free version on right.
You can make yours prettier, I ran out of time.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Coconut Flour Cheese Biscuits, gluten-free & low-carb

I adapted this recipe from my coconut flour BIBLE, The Coconut Flour Cookbook, by Bruce Fife.  Of course, I added a little Louisiana flavor kick!! ;)  And, I made mine with the leftover bacon grease from my delicious pastured organically raised bacon (naturally).  If you do this, I believe you should still add the salt this recipe calls for.
I made this to do along with a wonderful duck soup I made with homemade duck stock, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and swiss chard.
I hope you enjoy them!
*** update: for breakfast biscuits, you can omit the chili and cayenne peppers.

Coconut Flour Cheese Biscuits, gluten-free & low-carb 
makes 8 biscuits

4 eggs, organic & pastured is best!
1/4 cup of high quality coconut oil, butter, or pastured lard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup sifted coconut flour
3/4 cup shredded cheese, I used a raw cheddar

Blend together eggs, oil/butter, salt, and spices.  Combine coconut flour and baking powder and whisk into batter until there are no lumps.  Fold in cheese. Drop batter by spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet a few inches part- these spread.  Bake at 400˚F (205˚C) for 15 minutes.  As with all coconut flour recipes, you can store tightly covered on the counter for 1 -2 days, then transfer to the refrigerator.  In humid climates, it will get more moist the first day then quickly go towards moldy, so transfer earlier.  In dry climates, I hear it can get drier- in that case, maybe transfer to fridge earlier.  Please comment if you live in a dry climate what you do with coconut flour goodies!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lemon Coconut Energy Bombs

After making those yummy cocoa fat bombs, I thought I'd like to try one without chocolate - mainly because my 1 yr old was grabbing for them and I didn't want him having the caffeine - and then I thought I'd make one without nuts, for a friend who is allergic.  Basically these are made of two things: lemon and coconut.  My little one thought it was candy, he loved it!
If you have ever tried to take virgin coconut oil daily, for health benefits, you may find it gets hard to do, after a while, because of the texture.  So this is an alternative way of taking your virgin coconut oil.  I liked these, they were easy to eat and pretty tasty.  I recommend making them small and later increasing the size of them if you think you can eat 2 in a sitting.  I bought mini cupcake wrappers, which are awesome and also very inexpensive.
After making the fat bombs, I realized they gave me crazy energy, so I am eating these for energy now.  These don't have the truffle taste my fat bombs did, because they have more oil in them.  You could cut them with coconut milk if you wanted them to have a more candy feel, but I made these this way to get more of the virgin oil in my diet.

Lemon Coconut Energy Bombs
Makes 9 

1/4 cup coconut butter (see below for homemade recipe)
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, high quality
1 Tablespoon of organic lemon zest
1 Tablespoon of organic lemon juice
stevia powder or liquid to taste, I used 1/8 teaspoon NuNaturals powder
toasted coconut to garnish (see below)
mini cupcake wrappers or pan

Combine all ingredients except toasted coconut and mix well.  Scoop into cupcake wrappers.  Sprinkle toasted coconut on top.  Place in freezer for 20 minutes, then place in refrigerator.  Lasts a very long time.

How to make coconut butter: Grind unsweetened coconut flakes in a nut/coffee grinder or food processor for at least 20 minutes, or until the consistency of nut butter.  Or go here for pics/in depth.
How to make toasted coconut: Preheat oven to Broil.  On a cookie sheet, put a single layer of unsweetened coconut flakes and broil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until brown.  Burns fast! Don't walk away!