April 29, 2017

Gingerbread Cupcakes

2014-11-30 20.38.40

For our family’s Thanksgiving Feast (as the grandchildren call it!), we always divvy up of the different dishes that make up our spread.  This year, Robert and I are hosting the Feast at our home, so mine is the turkey to prepare (I always use Alton Brown’s Brined Turkey recipe), along with gluten-free gravy and the stuffing (see my recipe I shared here a couple of weeks ago).   My daughter, Kassia and her mother-in-law Mary Ann are divvy-ing up the sides and salads!  And we each are making a dessert…these spicy-sweet Gingerbread Mini-Cupcakes are my contribution.  Oh, they are so darling!  And just the perfect mouthful (and I mean FULL).  <Of course you certainly could make these in a standard cupcake size, too!>

For those of you who are just beginning to follow the path of gluten-free baking, try this recipe.  When I first made these cupcakes, I used a ‘gf all-purpose flour blend.’ You can pick up a box in the gluten-free section of almost any grocery store. However, if you have a pantry filled with jars of different gluten-free flours, I used ** 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1/4 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup hazelnut flour).  Note that these cupcakes are dairy-free if you prepare them with coconut oil…and of course no whipped cream!

This is a quick recipe to pull together…and the mini-cupcakes only take 10-12 minutes to bake.  We will have ours with Spiced Whipped Cream (see the recipe  here).  But they are equally yummy with a cream cheese frosting or a simple buttercream frosting, too.  Enjoy!

2014-11-29 22.51.34

Mini Gingerbread Cupcakes

ingredients:
1+1/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour blend **(see above)
1+1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature (I used coconut oil)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup boiling water

directions:

  • set out the butter (or coconut oil) and egg to come to room temperature
  • fill muffin/cupcake tins with liners (mini = 30; regular = 12)
  • preheat oven to 350
  • mix flour(s) and spices together in a small bowl
  • with mixer, cream together butter (or coconut oil) and sugar
  • add egg, then molasses; beating ‘til nice and creamy
  • microwave the water in a measuring cup ‘til boiling; remove and <carefully> stir in the baking soda; set aside to cool slightly
  • add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl, and blend for about 1 minute ‘til it all comes together
  • continue to blend while pouring in the water; beat for an additional minute or so (batter will seem thin but it very quickly thickens up)
  • fill lined cupcake tins about 3/4 full with batter
  • bake minis for 10-12 minutes (regular-sized for 20 minutes), or ‘til firm to the touch and slightly browned
  • take pan from oven and immediately remove cupcakes to a cooling rack
  • once completely cool, frost as desired

 ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

I am convinced that every culture, every civilization, has a chicken soup recipe.  Nothing else satisfies, or feels so much like a hug to the tummy, like a big bowl of chicken soup made by someone you love.  If you are like me and are a frugal girl, you buy a whole chicken at least once a week.  I remove the breasts and legs and cook them one night, then cook the carcass for broth and about two cups of shredded chicken left on the body.  If you have a chicken body and the desire to try something new, read on – here comes Thai Coconut Chicken Soup, also known as Tom Kha Gai!

Now that you know how to make coconut milk from scratch, you’ll need about 2 cups of homemade coconut milk, or you can use one can of packaged coconut milk.  There are a few other unusual ingredients for this recipe:  ginger, cilantro, and fish sauce.  Ginger really isn’t that out of the ordinary, and goes great in smoothies and peach dishes; but if you aren’t going to use it soon, you can peel whatever is left and freeze it to use later.  Cilantro shows up in many different cuisines, so if you don’t want to waste half a bunch of cilantro, you have many options (like Mexican or Indian food), or try this  and  this.  Fish sauce is a savory liquid distillation of anchovies, sugar, and salt.  If you can’t find it, you can still make the soup, but fish sauce is the secret ingredient that really brings everything together.  It keeps in the fridge forever, and is a great flavor booster for clam chowder or a substitute for anchovy paste (think Caesar salad.)  The only other ingredients you need are a chicken, some limes, and mushrooms.  Thai restaurants use straw mushrooms (you can find them in a can), but I used dried shiitake mushrooms, and they’re delicious.  You could also use cremini mushrooms.

Try this with Jasmine rice and a green salad for a light but satisfying dinner!

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken body, breasts and legs removed (or use two cooked chicken breasts, diced, plus 3 cups of chicken broth)
  • 1 large piece of ginger, 2 or 3 inches long, peeled and bashed with the handle of your knife
  • 1 can coconut milk, or about 2 cups homemade coconut milk
  • 1 ounce dried mushrooms, broken into little pieces, or 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon or so fish sauce (to taste – if you don’t have fish sauce, use salt)
  • 2 limes, juiced

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, cook the chicken carcass with 4 cups of water and the ginger, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a large bowl; shred meat from bones and set aside. Strain the broth into another bowl, discarding ginger. Wash the pot and return to stove. Over medium low heat, add the dried mushrooms to the chicken broth and cook ten minutes. (If using fresh mushrooms, add them in Step 2.)
  2. Add back the chicken to the broth, and pour in coconut milk (and fresh mushrooms, if using).  Cook until simmering.  Add chopped cilantro, fish sauce, and lime juice, and stir to combine.  Taste for seasoning – may need more salt, or you may like more lime (you can add the zest of the lime too, if you want a stronger citrus flavor.)  Serve hot with more chopped cilantro.  You can also stir in a little hot sauce or chili flakes if you like!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Gingery Roasted Shrimp and Asparagus

We all need a few tried-and-true QUICK suppers for our menu planning; yes?  This Roasted Shrimp and Asparagus is just that!  From starting the oven to preheat to plating this dish takes maybe 30 minutes (or less).  And it fits so well into our healthy but-oh-so-yummy POV.  Low carb, low fat but not low in flavor!  Between the ginger and garlic, the tangy-ness of the soy sauce, and finished off with the smokiness of the sesame oil—just delish!  Enjoy!

(Oh!  Keep your eye on the shrimp while roasting…they won’t take very long at all.  Don’t forget that they have their own built-in thermometer: they turn pink when perfectly done!)

Ginger-y Roasted Shrimp and Asparagus

2015-10-06 18.43.43

ingredients:
1 cup quinoa (cook according to package directions)
1/2# (or more) raw shrimp, cleaned
1 bunch asparagus (about 1#), ends trimmed
1 T olive oil
2 T soy sauce
2 T minced garlic
1 T honey
1 T  fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp sesame oil
sea salt, freshly ground pepper

directions:

  • preheat oven to 425
  • line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • place asparagus stalks on the baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil; roll back and forth to thoroughly coat the asparagus
  • in a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, garlic, honey, and ginger
  • using a pastry brush (or your fingers!), brush about half the mixture on the asparagus
  • place in over and roast for 15-20 minutes, ‘til almost tender
  • remove pan from oven and toss shrimp onto the pan; brush with a little of the sauce mixture
  • return to oven for 5 minutes or so (depends on the size of the shrimp)
  • when everything is done—pile the quinoa in the middle of your plate, add asparagus spears and top with shrimp
  • drizzle the remaining sauce over top along with a few drops of the sesame oil

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Many of you have gone on Spring Break or are anticipating taking a vacation this summer. It is a time to refresh spirit, soul, and body. Over the next couple of weeks, our faithful bloggers will be taking a ‘spring break’ from writing so that they can come back to us refreshed and freshly anointed.
However, Girlfriends’ Coffee Hour website won’t ‘go black’! We will be revisiting some of our favorite blogs and daily devotions which have blessed us in the past. We pray that each of you, our faithful friends and readers, will continue to start your day meditating on the devotionals and songblogs, and be encouraged and blessed.

Let’s give each of our bloggers a big round of applause, a hug,
and the rest they so deserve. God bless you, ladies!

2014-11-30 20.38.40

For our family’s Thanksgiving Feast (as the grandchildren call it!), we always divvy up all of the different dishes that make up our spread.  This year I was happy to prepare a side dish (Quinoa Veggie Salad w/ Orange Vinaigrette), the beverages (one <adult> choice of which was Apple Cider Sangria), and a dessert…these spicy-sweet Gingerbread Mini-Cupcakes. Oh, they were so darling! And just the perfect mouthful (and I mean FULL).  <Of course you certainly could make these in a standard cupcake size, too!>

2014-11-27 13.11.15

For those of you who are just beginning to follow the path of gluten-free baking, try this recipe.  When I first made these cupcakes, I used a ‘gf all-purpose flour blend.’ You can pick up a box in the gluten-free section of almost any grocery store. However, if you have a pantry filled with jars of different gluten-free flours, I used 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1/4 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup hazelnut flour).  Note that these cupcakes are dairy-free if you prepare them with coconut oil…and of course no whipped cream!

This is a quick recipe to pull together…and only takes 10-12 minutes to bake. We enjoyed ours with Spiced Whipped Cream (see the recipe from last week’s blogpost here).  But they would be equally yummy with a cream cheese frosting or a simple buttercream frosting, too.  Enjoy!

2014-11-29 22.51.34

Mini Gingerbread Cupcakes

ingredients:
1+1/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour blend **
1+1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
4T butter, room temperature (I used coconut oil)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup boiling water

directions:

  • set out the butter (or coconut oil) and egg to come to room temperature
  • fill muffin/cupcake tins with liners (mini = 30; regular = 12)
  • preheat oven to 350
  • mix flour(s) and spices together in a small bowl
  • with mixer, cream together butter (or coconut oil) and sugar
  • add egg, then molasses; beating ‘til nice and creamy
  • microwave the water in a measuring cup ‘til boiling; remove and <carefully> stir in the baking soda; set aside
  • add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl, and blend for about 1 minute ‘til it all comes together
  • continue to blend while pouring in the water; beat for an additional minute or so (batter will seem thin but it very quickly thickens up)
  • fill lined cupcake tins about 3/4 full with batter
  • bake minis for 10-12 minutes (regular for 20 minutes), or ‘til firm to the touch and slightly browned
  • take pan from oven and immediately remove cupcakes to a cooling rack
  • once completely cool, frost as desired

 ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Peach Salsa

2014-07-13 21.33.27Oh…does that not say ‘summer!!!’ to you? Yes, to me, too! Here in the NorthEast, we are smackdab in the middle of the peach harvest…and they are so good! There are so very many sweet things that you can do with peaches; oh let me count the ways: pies, cobblers, crisps, crumbles, muffins, jam, ice cream, sorbet, pancakes, smoothies, popsicles, teas, sangria….  I’d love to hear of your favorite way to eat a peach!

But I do love using peaches in savory foods, too!  Now perhaps there aren’t quite as many options…but equally yummy! How about used as a glaze for chicken? Or chopped fine and added to ground chicken for meatballs? Peaches are FABulous added to the grill when you have fish or chicken going! Try simply topping them with a drizzle of really good balsamic vinegar and some goat cheese; oh yeah!

This week, however, I have a REALLY simple recipe for Peach Salsa. Great served with grilled salmon, or chicken breast, or shrimp kabobs!  This recipe comes together so quickly I did it twice this week…once with a ginger sweet flavor and once with a sort-of-spicy tomatillo salsa mixed in. Equally delicious!

2014-07-13 21.58.44

Peach Salsa (Two Ways)

Gingery Peach Salsa
ingredients:
2 large ripe, yet firm, peaches2014-07-13 21.54.56
handful of yellow and red grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon ginger preserves
2 tablespoons red onion, cut into a small dice
zest and juice of 1/2 of a lime
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

directions:

  • combine ginger preserves and lime juice and zest; mix together
  • remove pit, and cut peaches into bite-size pieces; add to ginger-lime mixture
  • slice grape tomatoes in half; also add these
  • season well; and combine together
  • put to the side for a few minutes and then taste for additional seasoning
  • set aside and let flavors come together while the meat/fish is being cooked

Spicy Peach Salsa
ingredients:
2 large ripe, yet firm, peaches
handful of yellow and red grape tomatoes
2 (or more) tablespoons tomatillo salsa (salsa verde)
2 tablespoons small dice red onion
zest and juice of 1/2 of a lime
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
directions:

  • combine tomatillo salsa and lime juice and zest; mix together
  • remove pit, and cut peaches into bite-size pieces; add to tomatillo mixture
  • slice grape tomatoes in half; also add these
  • season well; and combine together
  • put to the side for a few minutes and then taste for additional seasoning
  • set aside and let flavors come together while the meat/fish is being cooked

(Here are some facts about the nutrition associated with peaches; good stuff! )

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Please don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen