Tag Archives: easy

My All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend II

You probably already know I have a gluten free flour recipe on this site.  It’s a solid recipe.  It’s also one I no longer use.  I have streamlined my recipe and changed the ratio of flours to starches.  My original AP GF flour blend was 60% flours 40% starches.  I have found, however, that a 50/50 mix works better for sweet and delicate baked goods – cakes, cookies, pie crusts, quick breads – that kind of stuff.  The only savory GF bread I make with any regularity is my pizza crust, in which I use an entirely different formulation so I now only make my 50/50 blend for everything else.

It works for pretty much any recipe you want to convert to GF.  I use it for baking, for thickening sauces…anywhere flour is needed.  It’s simple, easy to remember, and relatively cheap.

For more information on GF flour formulations you can read my original post here.  It’s a bit more in-depth.

My All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend II

200 grams Potato Starch

200 grams Cornstarch

200 grams Sorghum Flour

100 grams Sweet Rice Flour (found in your grocer’s Asian section and/or the Gluten Free aisle if you have one)

100 grams Brown Rice Flour

Put all ingredients in a tightly sealed canister or ziplock bag and shake until uniform.

This recipe makes 800 grams AP flour.  This is as much as I can fit in my designated canister.  If you wanted to make more at a time (believe me I would if I had a bigger container and room to house it), just remember the ratio and you’re all set.

2 parts Potato Starch

2 parts Cornstarch

2 parts Sorghum Flour

1 part Sweet Rice Flour

1 part Brown Rice Flour

And that’s it!  Now you’re all set to get in the kitchen and bake!  ‘Tis the season!



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Filed under Homemade Ingredients, Miscellaneous

Refried Black Beans

I’ve been making these a lot lately.  They are super quick and easy and go well with pretty much any southwestern or Mexican food you may be having.  I made them this morning, as I have most weekends this summer, to go in breakfast burritos.   Quick, easy, cheap, versatile, AND healthy?  Yes, please.

Here’s everything you need:  1 can of black beans, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 Tbsp fresh chopped oregano, and 2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro.  This oregano is from my herb garden.  I don’t have  Mexican oregano, and I’m honestly not even sure what the difference is, but if you have some and you want to try it please do so!

And let me know how it’s different 🙂

Start by heating your olive oil in a small pot over medium heat.  Add the garlic, cumin, cayenne, and chopped oregano and toast for a minute to bring out their flavors.

Add the entire can of black beans (liquid and all), and bring up to a simmer.

Using the back of a spoon, mash about half the beans.

Let it simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated away and your beans are the consistency you like.  Here mine are almost done.  I don’t know about you but I don’t like mine bone dry so keep a watch on them.  It only takes a few minutes.

Top with some fresh cilantro and serve!  You can, of course, chop up your cilantro before sprinkling it on (I usually do but leaving the leaves whole makes for a prettier presentation, I think)  We do these in breakfast burritos, as I said, but I also put them out on “make your own taco” night.  I also love them alongside my southwestern pulled pork (recipe coming soon!).

This recipe is very versatile and gladly accepts any number of alterations.  As it happened, I had a couple hot cherry peppers from the garden just begging to be included so I chopped up half of this guy right here and added it in with the spices.  You could add some chopped onion or red bell pepper in the beginning before the garlic, you could vary the spices, you could top it with some crumbled queso fresco or sour cream at the end – whatever!  Cooking’s great like that, you can always mix it up and make it yours.


Refried Black Beans

1 (14oz) can black beans

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano

2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro


Heat oil in small pot over medium heat.  Add garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, and oregano and toast for one minute.

Add in entire can of beans, including liquid.  Bring up to a simmer.

While simmering, mash about half the beans.  Stir occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated away and beans look “refried”.

Top with fresh cilantro.

Serves 4.

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Filed under Sides

Arugula Salad with Peaches and Candied Bacon

This is an incredibly easy, colorful, flavorful, textural summer salad experience. I’ve eaten it two days in a row now for lunch.  And I may have it again tomorrow.  This might be a problem if it weren’t a salad.

And it all came about because I didn’t want to do dishes.

You see, the other day I was preparing some of The Pioneer Woman‘s BBQ Bacon Jalapeno Poppers.  (Sorry no recipe link – it’s only in her first cookbook)  They are to die for and have become a party staple at our house because everyone just loves them.  I could eat six of them in five minutes.  You know, I could…not that I ever did, mind you…

Anyway,  my oven safe rack was already baconed up so I thought why not make some candied bacon?!?  If you’ve never had it, candied bacon is incredibly easy to make and mind-blowingly delicious.  And what better way to consume it than over a bed of healthy baby arugula?  Score!

Here’s everything you need right here – arugula, goat cheese, peaches, and the candied bacon (we’ll get to that part in a second).   Now, I was only making salad for myself so I only have one peach here.  I’d say one peach/person would be good.  For a main dish salad anyway.  For side salads probably half a peach would work for each.

For the candied bacon – just take some bacon slices (mine were pre-cut in halves for the poppers but they don’t have to be), and toss them around in some brown sugar.

I sorta cleaned my rack for this shot.

Place them on an oven safe rack over an aluminum foil lined rimmed baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for about half an hour or until done to your liking.  (You’ll want to watch them closely after that 30 minute mark as they go from wiggly to burnt in a very short amount of time.  I left mine in a couple minutes too long and they were a bit too dark for my taste.)

Don’t you just love it when your peaches are perfectly ripe and the skin just peels right off?  Nom.  Wonderful.

For the dressing I made a super quick mustardy vinaigrette.  This is everything you need right here.  I love vinaigrettes because they’re so easy to remember and freehand with whatever you’ve got lying around.  3 parts oil : 1 part acid (vinegar or lemon/lime juice) plus flavor additions.  I love how the slight sweetness of the apple cider vinegar compliments the bacon and peaches.

If you have a cruet like this one you get to go the easy route and just pour up to the lines.  If not, it’s still really quick and easy.  (And you don’t need to add water.  That’s what the “W” stands for.  I find adding even a little bit of water makes a vinaigrette too thin unless you plan on adding a ton of dry ingredients – like a packet of salad dressing mix or something.)

The peaches are sweet, tart, and succulent.  The goat cheese tangy, creamy, and smooth.  The arugula green and dry and slightly bitter.  The bacon salty, savory, sweet, and crispy.  Paired with a simple mustardy vinaigrette that brings it all together?  Perfect.


Arugula Salad with Peaches and Candied Bacon

8 cups baby arugula

4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

4 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

6 slices bacon

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp whole grain mustard

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place an oven safe rack over it.

Dredge bacon slices in brown sugar and lay flat on rack.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until done to your liking.  Allow to cool and crumble.

Combine oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk (or shake, if you have a cruet) to emulsify.

Portion out arugula between 4 plates, top with goat cheese, peaches, and candied bacon.

Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Makes 4 main dish salads.


Filed under Salads

Mango Salsa

I don’t think I ever had a mango until about five years ago.  And if you would have asked me then I would have said something to the effect of, “Mangoes are a love it or hate it kind of food.”  Wegmans says on their signs that mangoes taste like a cross between a peach and a pineapple.  I remember thinking, “Yep.  That pretty much says it all.”

I wasn’t a fan.

But over the years I kept coming across recipes calling for mangoes.  They’re actually the most popular fruit in the world.  Did you know that?  Not here in the U.S., certainly.  But there are a whole lotta people around the globe that love these peculiar, sweet, large-pitted fruits.

I first fell in love with them when I had some Mango Sticky Rice at a block party downtown a few years ago.  A very simple Thai dish of sweetened coconutty rice with slices of mango served on top – it’s one of my favorite side dishes to bring to a party for it’s ease of prep and “wow” factor.

I had actually planned on doing a whole bunch of recipes with mango since I bought a crate of beautiful Champagne Mangoes at Sam’s Club last week.  Also known as Atualfo Mangoes, they are smaller and have a softer, less fibrous texture than the regular ones.

(I just wiktionaried the plural of “mango”.  Apparently both “mangos” and “mangoes” are correct but I have always intuitively spelled it the British English way.  I was so tickled by this mundane bit of info I had to share :p)

So anyway, here is my new favorite thing to do with them.  Great for parties, healthy, easy to prepare, and impressive to folks used to eating boring old tomato salsa out of a jar.

Here are the elements – 3 ripe Champagne Mangoes (or 2 of the bigger ones), pitted and chopped (we’re just going to pretend that my mangoes are not on the verge of going bad…), some finely chopped red onion (about 1/3 cup – not a whole onion), a handful of fresh cilantro, half of a jalapeno pepper (or a whole one if you like things really hot), seeded and finely minced, 1 Tbsp lime juice (or the juice of one fresh lime), and a good size pinch of salt.

Here is a video showing one method for cutting a mango.  Also – remember to handle jalapenos with great care.  Wear gloves if you have them.  Just a little bit of juice in the eye will burn for hours.

Chop and mix it all up and you have a fresh, wonderfully flavorful salsa.  It’s sweet, spicy, refreshing, and goes magnificently with salty tortilla chips.  It may just make a mango convert out of you.


Mango Salsa

3 ripe Champagne Mangoes (or 2 regular ones), pitted, skinned, and chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1/2 jalapeno, membranes and seeds removed, finely minced

a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

1 Tbsp lime juice (or the juice of 1 fresh lime if you have it on hand)

a pinch of salt


Mix and serve at room temperature with tortilla chips.

Makes about 2 cups of salsa

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Filed under Party Fare, Sauces, Condiments, Dips etc.

Avocado Egg Salad

Welcome to the first installment of Foods My Husband Will Not Touch with a Ten Foot Pole.

If I were to actually continue this train of thought I could probably fill up the rest of the year with posts in this series.  There are so many foods my husband will not eat for whatever reason.  Mushrooms, peas, corn that’s not on the cob, candy of any kind, frosting, cream-based sauces, shellfish, ham, turkey, any part of the chicken besides the breast.  The list goes on and on.

“Green foods” is on that list.

There’s no Doofenshmirtzian back-story here.  He was never traumatized by a bad avocado experience or anything like that.  Apparently as a baby he wouldn’t eat green veggies and has just never gone back on it since then.  He’s kind of stubborn like that.

So yeah, vegetables…it’s like I’ve got five kids in the house I have to constantly beg, nag, and cajole to eat their food.

And avocados – not even a real vegetable.  It’s totally a fruit.  That’s full of good for you fat at that.

So where were we?  Oh yeah, egg salad, baby.

Now, normally, I do my egg salad with a mayo/dijon/horseradish dressing.  And it’s awesome.  But, I had all these Easter eggs sitting in my fridge staring at me (last month – I know – been super busy ’round here) and I got inspired.  And you know what?  I ended up making myself this egg salad for myself for breakfast every day for like a week.


Here’s everything you need.  A mashed avocado, three chopped hard boiled eggs, two finely chopped green onions, a pinch of kosher salt, and a few dashes of hot sauce (I ❤ RedHot).  Put it all in a bowl, mash it up, you’re done.  Now, if you like your egg salad more eggy you could go four eggs instead of three.  Up to you.  This recipe easily doubles/triples/whatever you need.

Here he is being a good sport.  No pole or anything.  But check it out – wasabi is not included in the green foods ban.

“What?  I’ve gotta cover up the green.”





Avocado Egg Salad

1 ripe avocado, skin removed, pitted and mashed

3 hard boiled eggs, chopped

2 green onions, finely chopped

a pinch of kosher salt

a few dashes hot sauce such as RedHot


Combine and serve.  If not consuming right away, press plastic wrap directly onto surface of egg salad to delay the natural browning of the avocado.

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Filed under Salads

Raspberry Lemon Parfaits

Donkey: You know what ELSE everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, “Let’s get some parfait,” they say, “Hell no, I don’t like no parfait”? Parfaits are delicious!
Shrek: NO! You dense, irritating, miniature beast of burden! Ogres are like onions! End of story! Bye-bye! See ya later.
(slight pause for reflection)  Donkey: Parfait’s gotta be the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet!

That would be from Shrek (obviously), one of my favorite kids’ movies.  I had to add that quote in here because every time I say the word “parfait” in my head, I hear Eddie Murphy’s voice.

Back to the real world… Hey everyone!  Hope you all had a lovely Easter.  We certainly did here.  It was a crazy busy weekend of cooking, cleaning, baking, and making my first “professional” cake.  There are pics up of that on The Decorator’s Corner section of this blog (which, if you’ve never checked out, you should!).

We had lots and lots of yummy food.  The only regret I have this year is that I did not make more because we actually ran out of a couple dishes.  There’s a first for everything I guess.  But all in all it was a great Easter.

These parfaits were on my short list of desserts for Easter.  I ended up doing Mini Lemon Meringue Pies but I couldn’t not make these.  Just too cute!  Can you picture serving these at the end of a spring dinner party?  A birthday party/baby shower/graduation/Mother’s Day???  They’re sweet and light and perfect for this time of year.

And easy.  Did I say easy?  Because they are.  Well, once you have Lemon Curd sitting in your fridge that needs to be used anyway.  These are put together so quickly I did it yesterday morning while the kids were eating their breakfast at the island.

Now, I’m going to preface this by saying that I’ve made “real” fresh lemon mousse many times.  Technically, for it to be a real mousse you need whip up egg whites and fold them in, usually in conjunction with some freshly whipped cream.  I’ve done it that way and had it turn out awesome.

But there is always the concern about salmonella with the raw egg whites.  I won’t serve them to my children or a pregnant woman or anyone with a compromised immune system (all of whom are represented in our family right now).  So recently I tried substituting pasteurized egg whites (which are not good for whipping).  The mousse was turning out too slack.  I then accidentally over-whipped the cream just short of butter and was not being able to fold that in well, ending up with a lemon mousse resembling egg salad.

After that I said, “You know what, we’re just gonna grab the Cool Whip and call it mousse.”

What remains of my Easter centerpiece.  (Thanks Pinterest!)  I’ve been slowly tearing it apart Peep by Peep.

Anyway, here’s everything you need.  Some leftover Lemon Curd, some Cool Whip, Seedless Raspberry Jam, Fresh Raspberries, and Creme de Cassis (not shown).  Alternatively, you could use Chambord.  Creme de Cassis is Black Currant liqueur, Chambord is made from raspberries.  Chambord is a lot more expensive.  I’m sure it’s great, I’ve just never bought it for that reason.  And Creme de Cassis goes wonderfully with raspberries – so use whatever you’ve got!  Or, if you’re not the type to have those kinds of things on hand, you could just sub in a slip of juice (orange or cran-raspberry or something that will go well with raspberry and lemon).

Gently fold equal parts lemon curd and cool whip together.

I only made enough for one large parfait but this recipe very easily doubles/triples/whatever.  The original lemon curd recipe on this site makes about 3 cups so if you just made the lemon curd you could make a ton of parfaits.

Here it is all homogenous and whippy.  Nom.

Next, spoon out some seedless raspberry jam…

…and whisk it until it’s thin and syrupy.

Next, pour in a splash of liqueur.  About 3 parts jam:1 part liqueur.  Just enough to punch up the flavor a bit.

Now, find some pretty glasses.  I used martini glasses but you could use wine glasses (stemmed or stemless), old fashioned punch cups, double shot glasses for cute little Parfait Shooters… whatever!  Spoon in a layer of mousse and flatten out the top.

Next, spoon on a thin layer of the raspberry sauce, making sure you spread it out to the edges of the glass so the layer shows through when you cover it.

Spoon on another layer of mousse and carefully flatten it out to the edges being careful not to mix the layers.

Top with another thin layer of raspberry sauce and some fresh raspberries.  I like odd numbers for garnish.  It just looks better that way.

And there you have it!  Perfect with some shortbread cookies or all by itself with a spoon.  The perfect end to an elegant brunch, dinner, party, shower, or any springtime occasion!


Raspberry Lemon Parfaits

2 cups Fresh Lemon Curd (or bottled)

2 cups Cool Whip

1/4 cup Seedless Raspberry Jam

4 tsp Creme de Cassis or Chambord (or juice such as OJ)

12 Fresh Raspberries


In a medium size bowl, gently fold cool whip into lemon curd until no streaks remain.

In a small bowl, whisk jam until thin and syrupy.  Mix in liqueur.

In a pretty glass, spoon in a thick layer of lemon mousse and smooth the top.  Cover with a thin layer of raspberry sauce, spreading out to the sides of the glass.  Repeat.

Top with three fresh raspberries.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 4 Parfaits or 12ish Parfait Shooters.


Filed under Desserts

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Maple Dijon Pan Sauce

I’ve been in a dinner rut lately.

I know.  Crazy right?

It’s been busy at our house the past couple months.   Even more than usual, I guess.  It’s birthday season for us.  Following the holidays we have a slew of birthdays in our immediate and extended local family so I do a lot of prep for those.   Which really just means I get to think about decorating cakes all the time.

So anyway, after a few weeks of the same last minute dinners  I was determined to make something really great with just what I had in the house.

I’ll say it again – a well stocked pantry = happiness.

So last night we had this wonderful,  pan seared, then roasted, pork tenderloin with an intensely flavored sweet and savory pan sauce.  Best part is it’s all done in one pan so there’s less clean up.

Let’s grab our ingredients shall we?

Here’s what you need:  some olive oil, maple syrup, dijon mustard, whole grain dijon mustard, chicken broth, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, heavy cream, and two cloves of garlic.  Oh, and the pork tenderloin.  That’d be good.

First things first – pat down every square inch of the surface of the meat.  When you stick it in the pan you don’t want any excess moisture getting in the way of a beautiful brown sear.

Generously sprinkle the kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper all over both sides of the pork.

Set your oven to 400 degrees.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a cast iron pan (or any oven safe pan) over Med-High to High heat until the oil faintly smokes.  Add the meat immediately and leave it there for a minute.  We want to get the bottom nice and brown.  Flip and keep searing in this way until the whole outside is golden brown and lovely.

Mmm.  Like that.  Once you’ve got the outside totally seared, pop the pan into the preheated 400 degree oven.  You want to cook it until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.  (If you don’t already have a digital probe thermometer I implore you – buy one for yourself.  They’re the coolest things ever!  You stick the probe into the meat before it goes in the oven and it’s connected by an oven safe cord to the digital readout device thingy that sits on your counter top.  You can see as your meat temp goes up degree by degree.  Essential to getting the timing right!  I will never go back!)

While the meat is cooking through, now would be a good time to prep your sides (if you’re having any, I assume you are).  We had some scratch mashed potatoes and green salads.  Simple stuff.

Here ’tis straight out of the oven.  I want to say that took about 15 minutes.  But do not go by the time – go by the temperature.  So important.

Now, the next step is the easiest and one of the most important ones but it’s the one we all forget (or choose not to follow) once in a while.  Let the meat REST.  10 minutes.  Go.  Get busy with your sauce.  You’ve got other stuff to do.

Mince your garlic…

And throw it in the pan with all the drippings from the meat.  Can you tell I let my pan get too cool?  Oops.  Your pan should be HOT.  Like, take it out of the oven and put it back on the burner over Med-High heat.  (Word of warning  – remember to use your oven mitts when you grab that pan out of the oven.  I know, it sounds like common sense.  But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at that pan handle in the oven and reached my bare hand out to grab it like usual.  ::Facepalm::  Don’t be like me.)  Cook it for just under a minute.

Next, pour in a cup of chicken broth…

…a tablespoon of each of the mustards…

…and a couple glugs of pure maple syrup (about 1/4 cup).  Let that simmer down until it’s reduced to about a half a cup.  Usually if we want a sauce thickened we turn to flour or cornstarch.  And those methods are fine and perfect for many applications.  But in this case, with a mild pork tenderloin, I wanted to amp up the flavor.  Reducing does that nicely.

Finally, we’re going to pour in just a little bit of cream to round out the flavor.  Not enough to make the sauce creamy, just a couple tablespoonfuls.  Taste your sauce now and add salt and pepper to taste.  Remember you salted the pork already so the drippings are salty to begin with.

Slice up your pork into 1/2 inch slices.

And pour that wonderful sauce all over the pork.  This pork is tender and juicy.  The sauce is savory and sweet.  Pair with some mashed potatoes and a green somethingorother and you’re good to go!  Restaurant quality dinner on the table in about half an hour (ehh…maybe 40 minutes)!


Pork Tenderloin with Maple Dijon Pan Sauce

1 Pork Tenderloin

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

For the sauce:

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup chicken broth

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

1 Tbsp Whole Grain Mustard

1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup

2 Tbsp Heavy Cream

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pat pork dry with a paper towel.  Sprinkle all sides generously with salt and pepper.

Heat canola oil on Med-High heat in a cast iron (or other oven-safe) pan just until the oil faintly smokes.

Using tongs, place pork in pan and sear for at least one minute without moving it, or until bottom is golden brown.  Flip and repeat until all sides are seared.

If you have a probe thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the pork.   Move pan into preheated oven.  Remove when thermometer reaches 155 degrees.  (Watch it as it’s getting close – the temp goes up really fast towards the end so being a minute or two off makes a big difference in the juiciness of the meat.)  If you don’t have a probe thermometer, check with the old fashioned kind after about 15 minutes.

Move the pork to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes without cutting into it.  Put the pan with all the drippings back onto the burner over Med-High heat.

Mince the garlic.   Add to drippings in pan and saute for 1 minute.

Add chicken broth, mustards, and maple syrup.  Allow to cook down until reduced to about 1/2 a cup.  Add the cream and taste before seasoning with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Cut the pork into 1/2″ slices and pour sauce over the pork.

Serves 4.



Filed under Main Dishes