Gluten Free Slow Cooker Pancake Cake

I had mentioned I found a Gluten Free slow cooker recipe on Facebook, and after a few requests for this recipe from friends, I thought I would dive back into sharing recipes on my long lost recipe blog!  I've been so busy I forgot it was here! 

So, without further ado, here is the recipe, found via Stephanie O'Dea's Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking for the Kindle:

1 16 oz. package Gluten Free Pancake Mix (I used Maple Grove Pancake and Waffle Mix found at Walmart) 

Simply follow directions on the back of the Pancake Mix box, they have the measurements should you decide to use the whole box, or less, and mix everything together.

Take your slow cooker and be sure to either coat with cooking spray or brush on your choice of oil, so as to help the pancake not stick (I didn't put enough, by the way).

Pour the mixed contents of the pancake mix into the slow cooker, put on high heat, cover, and let it do it's thang! The aroma that fills the house is heavenly-it smells like a cakery! I actually only cooked it for 1 1/2 hours, not the 2 hours suggested in the cook book, so I suggest start monitoring and testing for done-ness at the 1 hour 15 minute range.  I stuck a knife into it and it came out clean-done to me!

I let it sit for a bit, and realized I didn't put enough oil into the pot so it stuck a little bit. I went around the pot with a knife to free the cake from sticking to the sides.  I cut the pieces right there as the bottom was stuck and it wouldn't budge.  Once pieces cut I was then able to go in with a spatula to remove them.  

So now you have a pancake cake! Serve it up warm and drizzle some syrup (Gluten Free of course!)...this might not last long in your home, and would be perfect for the holidays, or any old day.  Don't get me wrong, I'll still make pancakes the regular ol' way, but this is a great way to do something different with the breakfast treat.  

I can't wait to try more of this slow cooker Gluten Free cooking! 

Bon appetit! 

Spicy Citrus Shrimp Linguinie

My husband has been on quite the roll this summer, cooking up some delicious meals.  I've been the one to normally wear the apron, and cook to my heart's content.  But at one point he decided to take over the kitchen, and he hasn't really stopped! It was a nice and sweet change of pace, for sure!

This weekend he whipped up this recipe, which is one of my faves in his repertoire of cooking.  The first time he made the dish was for our 2nd Valentine's Day, in his apartment years back.  I remember it being a week night, we were already head over heels in love, and we've shared many nights staying in, and he thought he'd try something different from his normal go to staples-which usually was heavy in red meat, such as meatloaf, Salisbury steak, and other dishes.  I was so excited to see him step out of his Pennsylvania Dutch comfort zone.

Let's get started!

3/4 lb. of raw shrimp
1/2 box of linguine-we used Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta
2 lemons-zest & juice
2 limes-zest & juice
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/4-1/2 C. of white wine
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (less/more if desired)
S&P to taste
Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
Chopped Italian Parsley (optional)
Citrus Slices (optional)

A few things to prep:
1.  Zest the citrus using a microplane, putting the zest into a little glass bowl, or off to the side of your cutting board.

2.  Juice your fruit into another bowl.  Before you juice, slice up a few slices of the citrus to reserve for garnishing.

3.  Coarsely chop up some parsley, enough for garnish.

Step 1:
Peel off shrimp shells and place into ice water bath.  This helps keep shrimp fresh after peeling.

Step 3:
Get out your pot for boiling pasta, and begin to boil some water.  Our large pot takes a white to heat up, so we do this at the beginning of cooking.

Step 2:
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on a low-medium heat.  Once pan is warm, add in all ingredients, except for the shrimp, and let everything come alive cooking together.

Step 4:
By now your pot of boiling water should be ready, so add in your pasta.  We love cutting corners where we can to save calories and sugars.  We have been delighted by our recent discovery this summer of Quinoa pasta!  And they have a linguine, which is rather on the slim side, when compared to regular linguine.  To us, quinoa pasta tastes even better than whole wheat pasta!  If you haven't tried it, you might just add it to your grocery list the next time you head out to do a little shopping.

Step 5:
Now add in the shrimp to your amazing citrus-olive oil-wine bath.  Cooking time will vary, but in the end, the shrimp will be done when it curls, and the color is white & orange-ish, firm to touch.  You don't want to over cook the shrimp, for if you do shrimp will be rubbery.

Step 6:
By now pasta should be done, and the shrimp should be cooked throughout, so at this point add in the pasta to the skillet of aromatic goodness, and lightly twist the pasta with tongs or a pasta spoon.  Only a few twists and let all the ingredients mingle for a minute, then plate!

Et voila!  Your Spicy Citrus Shrimp Linguine is ready to be devoured! Sprinkle on some pretty green parsley & Parmesan cheese if desired, and a slice of lemon and lime for garnish.  You'll have your guests saying wow!  The flavors work really beautifully together, from the spice of the red pepper flakes, to the zing of the citrus, and the goodness of the shrimp, all mixed with the quinoa pasta!  This dish is great in taste, and great for a healthy meal.  Serve with a simple salad of chopped romaine lettuce and a Dijon vinaigrette, using white balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar.  

Bon appetit! 

"Sweet" DIY Favor/Gift Idea

A great DIY favor, that is sweet and savory, are candy coated pretzel sticks/rods.  These are so delicious, they have the crunch of the pretzel, the savor from the salt, and the yummy goodness from the melted candy or chocolate.  What makes them cute are the touches of candied sprinkles or edible glitter, and adding colorful ribbon to tie the treats together!

These treats are perfect for wedding or shower favors, they are easy to put together, and are easy to make an elegant and fun splash to your event.

Here's what you need, tweak where desired depending upon number of guests.

1 bag of pretzel rods
1/2 lb bag of Wilton candy melts (vanilla or chocolate)
Wilton nonpareil sprinkles-edible glitter-cupcake sprinkles, etc.
parchment paper
cookie sheet/jelly roll pan
pretzel rod treat bags and ties
curling ribbon or personalized ribbon
candy coloring
vegetable oil

First thing, place some parchment paper onto a hard surface, such as a cookie sheet.  Using the cookie sheet will enable you to place the pretzels into the freezer/fridge to aid in the hardening of the melted candy. Plus, the sheet will be helpful when sprinkling the sticks, letting the sprinkles fall where they may on the sheet, and not all over your table or counter.

Next, start by melting the chocolate.  You can do this simply by boiling water in a pan.  Once water is boiling, sit a sturdy glass bowl over the pan, (be sure water does not touch the bowl!), add in the candy/chocolate wafers, and stir with whisk until melted and smooth.  If you want to color your candy, now is when to delicately add in a few drops of food coloring-a little bit goes a long way, start with small drops and gradually add one by one until your desired color.

If chocolate isn't smooth and somewhat thin, it is OK to add vegetable oil a little bit at a time, it helps to thin out the possible thick chocolate, and does not interfere with the flavor.  Adding the oil also leaves a nice sheen, and doesn't taste oily, unless you add too much, so be cautious in adding small amounts at a time till desired consistency.  You don't want it super runny, but you don't want a thick goopy mess.  You want enough to coat the pretzel, where you can't see the pretzel through the melted candy layer.

What I did, as my bowl wasn't deep, and the pretzel rods were a bit long, I spooned the melted candy over the pretzels, completely and evenly covered the stick, leaving about 1-2 inches at the base of the stick for the guests to hold onto free of melted candy/chocolate.  Tap the stick gently on the edge of the bowl to shake off any access candy/chocolate to drip back into the bowl.

Then, before placing the sticks onto the parchment lined cookie sheets, I sprinkled the sticks with nonpareils, evenly covering the melted candy.  Roll the stick in your finger tips, so evenly cover the stick.  Once evenly coated with sprinkles, place onto the cookie sheet.  The best part about the parchment paper, the sticks should not stick to the paper, and you might have a flat surface on one side, but when candy has hardened, sticks should easily separate from the paper with no pulling.

Repeat, and place the pretzel sticks next to each other, but leave a bit of room so each candy covered pretzel breathes, and hardens individually.  To speed up the process of hardening candy, I placed the cookie sheet(s) into the fridge.

When I pulled the sheets out of the fridge, I pulled the pretzels up off the parchment, and if any melted candy had spread, like angel wings, it was easy to tap away any access hardened chocolate wings with my finger tips, which then revealed a perfect candy coated pretzel stick.

Last phase is to grab your pretzel favor bags, turn them upside down, take your candy coated pretzel stick and drop into bag, leaving exposed side up, at the opening of the bag.  At this point, pinch the bag where the pretzel ends, and tie with favor tie.  If you plan to attach ribbon, lightly tie the ties, as they help to bind the bag together, so that when you tie the ribbon over the ties, you can simply remove them once the bags are secure with your ribbon.  I mention this, as this is great if you don't have extra hands.  Tying the bags with favor ties can be done with ease, but tying ribbons can be difficult if tying without a support, so this little trick alleviates the fuss.  I learned this by tying ribbon onto an bag without support, and found it quite frustrating.  You know, you do this, holding bag with one hand, attempting to tie with the other, the bag slips through the trial, and ribbon is vastly uneven.

Et voila, you have your fancy candy coated pretzel sticks, and will be loved by your guests.  As always, quality control, and you will see you will love these too! They are yummy and delectable, and will add a sweet and classy touch, your guests might not know these were done homemade, but maybe by a candy company!

As pictured above, I created these treats for the holidays, and they were a hit! As family can often be biased, when I added these to their gifts, they honestly had no idea I had created the candy coated sticks!  Such a great and simple way to add a homemade touch to any event, be it for a bridal shower, wedding, birthday, any event!  You can personalize to your color theme, with your name or date of event, any way you want!

Enjoy and happy planning!


Easy recipe to follow for these Macaroons!  There is something about baking macaroons that really envelopes a home in the warm coconut dough scent.  I love Macaroons, and I love this recipe, found on Big Oven.

5 cups Coconut shredded
2/3 cup Flour
1 14-oz can Sweetened condensed milk
1 Egg white
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Measure and mix coconut and flour in a large mixing bowl. Add in salt, then condensed milk, vanilla and egg white. Mix throughly. Drop 1/8 cup scoopfuls on to a cookie sheet. (I use my Pampered Chef scooper - works great!) Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet immediately and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Pretty simple, simple ingredients, amazing rewards!  Add a bit of flair and drizzle melted dark chocolate over the cookies for that chocolate-coconut taste.  The cookies could also be dipped in the dark chocolate to coat the bottoms for added sweetness.  Just as they are is perfect as well!

Happy Holiday baking!