Last year I came up with some real winners in the GF/Veg cooking department and these staples are sticking around for another year. On my menu for Thanksgiving will be:
Stuffing (of the Gluten Free Variety)
Pumpkin Pie with a little twist
The Shepard’s pie is a staple in our little household, it just makes you *feel* like it’s a special occasion and that you’re fulfilled with Thanksgiving ‘feels’ just as much as those who are partaking in the Turkey. I am going to surf the food waves at my local Rainbow market to see what other treats tantalize my taste buds, but for now these are on my menu to stay. I’ll share my finds if they end up being interesting.
So now here’s the ooey gooey feely part, what am I thankful for?
Well I’ve got to say this last year has been pretty amazing. I’m super thankful for my current job situation(I’ve had some real crap jobs in the past), and I got Duke this year who has changed the family dynamic totally in our little 2 person household. There’s been lots of good things this year, I’m pretty dang happy.
Valentine’s Day is coming up and I’ve also been trying to practice baking, so I married the two and made adorable little cakes for the holiday. I really cheated because I can’t decorate cakes very well AT ALL (as you will see in the upcoming images) but my secret was using cake molds that made beautiful little cakes.
Any non-stick cake mold will work for this purpose, I got really lucky and found a very cute (and heavy!) cake mold that had really intricate details on it. It’s really important to use a more dense cake for this; usually ‘Bundt cake’ is used for these types of molds because they are denser and show the molds details better. I used two different types of cake mix, one white cake and a chocolate cake mix. Technically I should have used a bundt cake mix for this but I couldn’t find a gluten free mix over the weekend so I used ‘Wholesome Chow Vanilla Cake Mix’ and ‘Pamela’s Chocolate Cake Mix.’ Both mixes are Gluten Free and Dairy Free! Right away I could tell which cake was going to turn out better in my mold. The Vanilla Cake mix was much denser and more like thick jelly than cake mix. This will make a much denser cake; the instructions say that you can add more milk until it becomes more pourable. I added a little milk but kept it on the thick side because I knew I wanted to get more details from my mold.
In the past when I have worked with GF cake mixes they don’t usually rise very much so I filled my molds to the top. It was quite a surprise when I took them out and they were like muffins coming out of the top! If you aren’t sure weather your cake will rise or not, you can fill it to the top and just cut the muffin top off each of the cakes.Now this is where having a non-stick mold will come in handy. I let the mold cool COMPLETELY, I’m talking 6 hours to cool. I baked these in the morning then left them for the afternoon to just cool off. It’s important to let the mold cool completely or else you may not get a pretty decorative cake when you take them out.As I had originally thought, the Chocolate cakes were more fluffy and didn’t show the molds as well as the vanilla cake. If you aren’t decorating the cakes with any frosting then you will want to choose a cake that is thicker. But I had plans to decorate my cakes. Which just turned into a crazy mess! I started out trying to be very detailed, but cake decorating is hard! After countless mess ups, I just went crazy and threw frosting on where ever I could. It was pretty fun, this would be a great project with children or friends. If you do pull out your cakes a little early while they are still warm, wait to decorate them until the cake has cooled completely. The frosting will just turn into a melted mess. After you are done decorating you can package them up to give to friends, or your Valentine. My Valentine took a chocolate one, added another large heap of frosting and ate it gleefully that afternoon. Something about sugar that just makes the day better 🙂
I also made Mini Pumpkin Pies, which I’ll share tomorrow.
If I really want a milkshake I go to Saturn Cafe. The great thing about this restaurant is its all vegetarian but it doesn’t make you feel like you are at a vegetarian restaurant. It leaves all the chia seeds, cacao nibs and other gourmet ingredients out. Its like eating at an old 1950’s style diner, and there are no assumptions that it is a meat free place until you look at the menu. I’ve been to both locations in Santa Cruz and Berkeley and the staff is friendly, they have a gluten free menu, AND I can order a huge filling salad, fries AND A MILKSHAKE. Milkshakes are my kryptonite and I never get to have them so going here makes me feel like I can have what I really want off the menu.
They have fun tables with themes there too, so depending on which table you’re at you can look at all kinds of cool stuff under the glass.
This GIANT salad, is what I usually order when I go. Its the BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad. I love the heavy amount of avocado! YUM! There is “chick’n” on it that is Gluten Free and I always get BBQ sauce on the side(also gluten free) instead of the ranch. (the GF onion strings on top are soo good too!)
I will advise that whenever you order the waitress has always told me to make sure to mention you are gluten free and dairy free so that can make sure to get your order right.
Last time I was in they told me they have two separate fryers for two different types of french fries. One for gluten free fries and the other for their shoestring fries that do have gluten, which is pretty amazing considering most places don’t accommodate for this. My boyfriend always orders the nachos but with french fries instead of chips, which he says are really good.
I also almost always get a milkshake. Make sure to tell them vegan or not because they do have two types.
My amazing milkshake always makes me very happy.
If you decide to visit make sure to always check with your server to make sure nothing on the menu has changed and let them know of your allergies. They have always been very helpful and know their menu very well.
I’ve had the pleasure to visit Portland’s Saturday Farmers Market. Making my way through the crowds I sampled foods and listened to the digerido guy. I arrived hungry, so I sped through the aisle’s of vendors to where I knew my favorite business was.
Petunia’s Pies & Pastries holds a special place in my heart. My first few days being gluten free were spent in Portland and stumbling upon shelves of sugary treats that I could in indulge in really soothed my fears.I picked out several things to save for later. Everything they have is not only gluten free but vegan!
I walked away with a sugar filled box and immediately sat down to eat the sprinkle covered doughnut; that is, in my opinion, a far better doughnut than VooDoo could ever do.