Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ruttan and Law Family Recipes—The Secret Recipe Club

Clone of a Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

Big Fat Delicious Clone of a Cinnabon

Guess what?  For this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment, I FINALLY got one of my favorite blogs and one that I’ve been waiting for well over three years to be assigned.  It has been a party at our house as I have made a ton of recipes from Shelby’s blog, The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch.  Going out with a bang here, but I’ve made the decision to not be part of the Secret Recipe Club anymore.  I have been with it from the day Amanda created it more than three years ago.  I have never missed one month.  It has been so fun, such a great time, and I have made some great friends along the way.  I’ve been feeling for a number of  months now that it will be time to move on once I finally get Shelby’s blog.  That has been what has kept me going, the excitement of waiting and wondering when I’ll finally get THE assignment. 

Brownie Biscotti

Brownie Biscotti

Shelby, Shelby, Shelby—what a wonderful woman!  We’ve “known” each other (haven’t met in person yet) since way back in about 2008 when we were both involved with Tuesdays With Dorie and baked our way through Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home To Yours in a huge weekly-posting group.  Those were the days, weren’t they?!

Throughout this last month, I have had the fun and pleasure of seeing how many of Shelby’s recipe from her blog I can make.  I have not been disappointed with a single one!  I loved the brownie biscotti and made it gluten free and used organic cane sugar to make myself a treat.  Can’t wait to make them again!

Way back when she posted these unique chocolate chip cookies, I made them.  I looked back through all my photos and my blog and never did put them on the blog.  But I did find where I wrote some notes after making them that Kevin really liked them.  This recipe, that Shelby posted back in 2009, was one she found on a handwritten recipe card that her family believes was from her Grandmother Lottie.  They have no butter and are made with cream instead, which is probably because cows’ milk/cream was more at hand back in those days than butter.  I made these to take to a get together we were having with some friends along with a couple other goodies and they were gobbled up.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies Grandmother Lottie's Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies

I didn’t want to only make treats or desserts from her blog, so I have turned to it for dinner inspiration over the last month.  I made a great chicken recipe weeks ago that was well liked here at my home.  I will not hesitate to make it again.  Just like when Shelby made it, I served it with rice (and for me quinoa).

Chipotle Chicken Skillet, by Shelby

Chipotle Chicken Skillet

My family LOVES cinnamon rolls, which Shelby has mentioned she can’t resist either.  It only seemed right to make the recipe she has pictured at the front and center of her blog.  These just might replace my cinnamon roll recipe, which I’ve used for years because the boys all really liked them.  How could you not like a giant cinnamon roll that is similar to Cinnabon?!  (Wish I could have had one!)  This recipe, which is similar in size of ingredients to mine, makes EIGHT rolls.  They are huge, and I think I rolled them the wrong way (from the long side of the dough instead of the short side, which would make each roll bigger).

Clone of a Cinnabon, from Grumpy's Honeybunch 8-11-14

Big Fat Delicious Clone of a Cinnabon

I really enjoyed looking all through Shelby’s blog and ended up having to make another recipe from her family file and settled on these date treats made by her Aunt Helga.  I changed up this recipe for candied date balls so I could eat them (no one else here will eat anything with dates!) and made the recipe with coconut sugar and raw honey instead of sugar and coconut oil instead of butter.  I also used some organic brown rice crisp cereal instead of Rice Krispies.  I enjoyed making some different with unsweetened coconut, chopped walnuts and even adding a little chocolate to some.

Aunt Helga's Candied Date Balls

Aunt Helga's Candied Date Balls

Another awesome recipe I made were a quick-change version of Shelby’s Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies.  I had the brownies all ready to make and was getting out the ingredients for the peanut butter caramel, which called for smooth peanut butter and found that we were out.  Staring at me in the cupboard was some nice, smooth Nutella.  So I made the caramel sauce (which came from a Bobby Flay recipe) with Nutella!  After making the caramel and once it cooled, I will have to admit I tasted a little bit, for quality control purposes, you know.  It was good!  The caramel was swirled in to the brownies.  They made for a yummy dessert with ice cream on top.  It seemed necessary to take a bite of the one photographed here, so I can really attest to their deliciousness.  I’m a bad, bad girl, I know. ; ) 

Nutella Caramel Swirled Brownies

Nutella Caramel Swirled Brownies adapted from Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies

The 9x13 inch pan of brownies lasted a few days around here.  One of Kevin’s 18 year old nephews was over and had one of the brownies and said they were SO good.  He asked for another.  Then he said I definitely had to make those for the next family get together. 

Nutella Caramel Brownies

Nutella Caramel Swirled Brownies with ice cream

Wait, there’s more!  It has been strangely cool and quite rainy for an August in the Utah dessert here, so I was recently in the mood for chili.  Shelby to the rescue!  She has a great, simple White Chicken Chili on her blog!

White Bean Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

Another night for dinner, I had some more chicken I wanted to use.  Our dinner that night was Apricot Glazed Grilled Chicken from The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch.  Mmm, it was good!

Apricot Glazed Grilled Chicken

Apricot Glazed Grilled Chicken

I made the glaze with some apricot jam my friend gave me that was made with agave instead of sugar!  I’m so blessed to have friends that care about my dietary needs.  My dinner included some sauteed sweet potato and portabello mushroom hash and a caprese salad.  Delicious dinner!

Apricot Glazed Grilled Chicken, Sauteed Sweet Potaotes and Mushrooms with Caprese Salad

I saw Shelby’s post for Spicy Mango Lime Salsa with Pears and just like she said she had to when she saw it posted somewhere and had to make it, I did, too!  I also made homemade tortilla chips.  I made some with flour tortillas (not pictured) and some with corn tortillas, which I loved!  The boys couldn’t eat the flour tortilla chips fast enough and want more soon!  The salsa was supposed to be made with finely chopped red onion, but since I knew I was the one who was going to eat most of it (Kevin doesn’t like fruit in salsa), I left out the onion and added chopped jalapeno instead.  Yum!

Spicy Mango Lime Salsa with Pears and Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

Spicy Mango Lime Salsa with Pears and Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

Are we there yet?  You know, how when you’re on a long trip and the kids complain and ask if we’ve arrived at our destination yet?  I’m almost done.  But aren’t you starving now?  Yeah, get over to Shelby's blog for all these delicious recipes.  Finally, I ended the month recently with another biscotti, which is the same thing I made first when I got my assignment (the brownie biscotti).  Since Shelby is from upstate New York and they love their maple syrup there, I wanted to make something with maple syrup, so I settled on her Maple Walnut Biscotti.  I have simply loved having so many treats this month, a lot of them I have adapted to gluten free and refined sugar free when it was something I wanted to be able to eat, like the biscotti.  I will spend the next month or so sharing individual posts for my adaptations for all these recipes.  For now, all the links to the recipes I used from Shelby are under each photo. 

Maple Walnut Biscotti

Maple Walnut Biscotti

Shelby dipped her biscotti in a white chocolate glaze, I added some Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips to some of mine.  I’m not a coffee or tea drinker and don’t dip my biscotti in anything, but sure love it!

This Sunday night for dinner, I planned ahead and made one more recipe from Shelby’s blog—Pot Roast and Onions.  While I don’t like onions, my family does and I knew I’d be okay putting an onion in the slow cooker with a roast.  Loved this simple recipe and the gravy it made.  When it comes time to eat, my family is not happy to wait for pictures, so I got them all eating, then snapped this quick one of my dinner.  (They had mashed potatoes, but I don’t eat potatoes anymore, so I had a sweet potato.)

Pot Roast by Shelby

Shelby's Pot Roast

Is it over?  I mean this “era” in my blog life of being part of the Secret Recipe Club?  Let me just say that I’ve sure been torn from one day to the next, even one hour to the next throughout this last month.  I will still be checking in on reveal days as much as I can.  One of the reasons I feel like it’s time to let it go is because I just can’t seem to get around to as many blogs as I’d like and it doesn’t seem fair.  I’ll definitely still be here in food blog land, so never fear!  Peace out!  And we will meet someday, Shelby, my sista from another mista!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

“Raw” Brownies with Walnuts (Grain Free, Vegan, Sugar Free)

"Raw" Brownies with Walnuts

These “raw” brownies are so easy to make and have just a few ingredients but they taste so good.  I don’t even think someone who doesn’t know they are grain free, have no added sugar and are vegan would realize that they are such, nor would they realize they are made with dates.  A great, healthy treat—I’m so happy to have things like this when I make full fat, high sugar treats for others and just want a little something for myself.  I don’t think real treats are bad now and then, but for now, I’ve given up sugar and gluten and THIS is just the kind of thing I love.  You will, too!

I’ve made similar things before, like these Chocolate Hazelnut Bombs or these Almond Joy Fudge Bars.  Even these Healthy Fudge Brownie Bites are more like these “brownies”, but they have honey added as well.  Today’s “Raw” Brownies just have dates, nuts, and cocoa as the main ingredients.  Easier and I think I like them more.  I’ll have to make both and do a taste test (that’s really just my way of having to make more treats for myself). ; ) 

“Raw” Brownies, (Grain Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan) by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1  1/4 cup pitted dates

1 cup raw cashews, chopped (I like cashews for the base as they don’t have a distinct flavor, but these would make great brownies with other nuts, too)

5 tablespoons raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped—optional

1 tablespoon Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (or other chocolate of your choosing)—optional

Line a 9x5 inch bread pan with nonstick foil.  Place the dates in a glass bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Drain the dates (reserving the liquid) and pat them dry.  Roughly chop them (always do this to check for pits!).  Put the cashews in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Add the dates and pulse a few times.  Add the cocoa powder and salt.  Process until all is finely ground and well combined.  May take a minute or two until you get the consistency you want.  Add the walnuts and pulse just a few times so they are left as big pieces.  Spoon all of the mixture out of the processor, scraping the the bowl.  The mixture is a bit sticky, but try not to eat it all before you press it into the pan.  Put it in the pan and before you press it all down evenly, sprinkle on the chocolate chips.  Refrigerate for an hour.  Cut into 16 pieces.  Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.

"Raw" Brownies

These are perfectly chocolaty, I love brownies with nuts, and there is no extra sweetness needed, they would even still be great without the walnuts and extra chocolate chips.  I can’t wait to run out of these and make some more—I have quite the stash of dates and nuts to use up!

"Raw" Brownies

These would be great with any other nuts, pecans especially, but I am partial to walnuts in brownies.  I think I’ll try them with peanuts soon, too, and get that great peanut butter chocolate combo. 

"Raw" Brownies with Walnuts

Have you seen enough photos?  I must end this post, because every time I see more, I want to grab another one.  Make these.  The end. 

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake (Gluten Free)—Secret Recipe Club

Gluten Free Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

I really like this Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake that I made from my Secret Recipe Club assignment for this month!  Even better, I love that I made it gluten free and with some other substitutions all on my own.  This may not seem like that big of a deal, but for me in my new adventures in to a gluten free life as well as refined sugar free, I was really happy with how this turned out (and scared it wouldn’t).  Win!

My assigned blog this month was Ilona's Kitchen.  Ilona’s blog is full of all kinds of yummy desserts (and some other things, too)!  It was, as usual with Secret Recipe Club, hard to pick what to make.  It seems that Ilona and her family really enjoy cakes of all kinds as there were many to choose from, but I wanted to pay tribute to that by making one of the cakes.  Lo and behold, since it is blueberry season, as soon as I saw her Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake, I decided that was the cake I needed to make.  Besides, I’ve been buying blueberries by the ton and lately always have some in my fridge.  I’ve decided, while I’m not sure I’ve ever met a fruit I don’t really like, berry season is my favorite—especially raspberries and blueberries!

My next task after deciding to make this cake, was to make it gluten free and use unrefined sugars, so that I could have some of it, too.  Though I don’t go without butter all the time, I also decided to swap the butter in this cake for coconut oil and at the last minute realized I didn’t have any more sour cream, so I used some plain whole fat yogurt in its place.  Lots of changes, but basically, Ilona’s bundt cake and mine could be twins, at least fraternal twins. ;  )

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake (Gluten Free)Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake (Gluten Free), by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

2  1/2 cups gluten free all purpose flour (I used Namaste GF Organic Perfect Flour Blend from Costco)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup coconut oil

1 cup unpacked (150 grams) organic light brown cane sugar

2/3 cup (227 grams) raw honey

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup plain yogurt (whole fat)

zest of one large lemon

1 tablespoon lemon juice (save the rest of the juice for a glaze)

2 cups blueberries, washed and set on a towel  in single layer to dry

1/4-1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar


2 tablespoons raw honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Brush the insides of a bundt pan with coconut oil, making sure to get all the crevices.  Set aside.  Whisk together in a medium sized bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  In an electric mixer, combine the coconut oil, brown sugar and honey.  Beat until combined.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.  Add the yogurt, lemon zest and juice and mix well.  Add the dry ingredients and mix well just until combined.  Gently fold in the blueberries.  Pour the batter into the bundt pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for about 20 minutes.  Invert cake onto a wire rack (set the rack on top of the cake, then carefully turn it upside down until setting the rack on the counter, the cake should drop right out).  Cool completely.  Dust with powdered sugar.  Make the simple glaze.  Put the honey and lemon juice into a small microwave safe dish.  Microwave for 20 minutes, whisk until well combined.  Let cool.   Drizzle a little bit on servings of cake (I did this instead of drizzling the whole cake at once).

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake (Gluten Free) Aug. 2014 SRC

I really like the hit of lemon in this cake from the zest and juice in the cake and the simple honey lemon glaze.  You could glaze the whole cake before serving, and I splurged on 1/4 teaspoon of powdered sugar and dusted the cake, then just put glaze on individual pieces of the cake.  Kevin thinks it would be good with a sugar-laden glaze or whipped cream and I’m sure it probably would, but my way is yummy and better for you.  Even though the cake is gluten free and “different”, usually my family steers clear when I tell them that, but they have been eating the cake.  I love the almost crust-like edges of the cake. 

Check out Ilona’s blog, Ilona's Kitchen for more great recipes!  I actually made another recipe from her blog, it was a last minute salad I needed to take to a ladies church activity.  I loved it.  Again, I made a few changes, but you can find her Spinach and Edamame Salad here.  Ilona’s salad didn’t have blueberries and had pine nuts instead of pecans. 

Spinach Edamamae Blueberry Pecan Salad 7-22-14

Spinach Edamame Blueberry Pecan Salad, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 (10 ounce) bag of frozen edamame

1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

1/3 cup dried cranberries (I used apple juice sweetened)

1 cup blueberries, washed and dried

1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped

1 (5 ounce) bag of baby spinach

juice of 2 lemons (about 1/3 cup)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Cook edamame according to package directions.  Rinse under cold water until cool.  In a large bowl, combine the edamame, chickpeas, dried cranberries, pecans, blueberries and spinach.  In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Whisk until well combined.  Dress the salad just before serving with the lemon dressing a little at a time, tossing between each tablespoonful.  Don’t overdress it.  You could also dress individual servings as well.  (You won’t use all of the dressing, you could probably even halve the dressing recipe but it will be great on other salads.  Store leftover dressing in the refrigerator in a jar.)

Lots of delicious recipes to choose from  on Ilona’s blog!