Regency Ginger Crisps

When the Hallmark Channel introduced me to the Murder She Baked movies, I really wanted to read the books. Thankfully, my mom had almost the entire Hannah Swensen series written by Joanne Fluke and what she didn’t have, I work at a used book store so I can easily get the missing books.

I’m not a huge fan of ginger, but I do like gingersnaps when I get a craving for them. Reading the recipes in the books, just made me want to convert them to gluten-free. You can find the original recipes in the books. With these cookies, you don’t get a big burst of ginger flavor, but you do get more of the molasses flavor, which I like. I love molasses. What can I say?

This recipe is from the first book in the series, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, and is the second recipe written in the book.

Do not preheat the oven. Dough must chill before baking.

  • 3/4 cups melted butter (1-1/2 sticks)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 Tbsp molasses (1/4 cup)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2-1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour (not sifted)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar in a small bowl (for dusting)

Melt butter and mix in brown sugar. Let mixture cool and add egg. Add soda, molasses, salt, and ginger. Stir thoroughly. Mix in flour. Chill dough for at least one hour, overnight is best.

Preheat oven to 375°F and have the rack in the middle position.

Roll the dough in walnut-sized balls with your hands. Roll the dough in white sugar. Place on a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet, 12 to a standard sheet. Flatten the dough balls with a spatula.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool on cookie sheets for no more than one minute and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: To measure molasses, first spray the inside of the measuring cup with oil so the molasses will not stick.

The first time I made these, I made the dough balls too big and could only fit six to a sheet, but they were still amazing. These would be a great cookie to get kids involved (careful with the melting butter part) or if you are a beginner baker.

These cookies would be amazing served with pumpkin or vanilla ice cream.

Spiced Apple Cider Muffins

I recently won first place at my hometown’s County Fair with these muffins. The spice you get with them is from just a powdered drink mix. I’ve been experimenting with various drink mixes lately. It’s fun.

This recipe starts with a basic muffin recipe from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook: Celebrating the Promise (ISBN 978-0-696-235115) with a few changes that I’ve made.

Makes 12 muffinsapple muffin

  • 1-1/3 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 3 packets of instant apple cider drink mix
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil (usually I use extra virgin olive oil, but coconut oil is really good)
  • 1 large firm apple, peeled and diced (I use Red Delicious or Granny Smith)
  • Streusel Topping, optional (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease 12 2-1/2 inch muffin cups or line muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, oats and apple cider packets. Make a well in the center and set aside.

In another bowl, combine egg, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mix. Stir until just moistened; batter should be lumpy. Fold in apple.

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each two-third full. Using a small ice cream scoop makes it easier to keep the muffins uniform. If desired, sprinkle tops with Streusel Topping. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool muffin cups on wire rack for at least 5 minutes.

Note: To help keep apples from falling to the bottom during baking, toss them in a little bit of flour and use a wire mesh strainer to help get excess flour off apples.

Streusel Topping

  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp oats
  • 2 tbsp chopped pecans or walnuts, if desired

In a small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Cut in oats and nuts, if using.

This has become one of my favorite recipes. These muffins are great cold for breakfast or warm with vanilla ice cream if you want to enjoy them for dessert.

Hello Again

I’ve tried another blog site for this blog the last few years and decided to stick with my roots. WordPress allows me more freedom to customize my blog to fit what I want it to look like. With that being said…

Last month marked 14 years for me being gluten-free. Wow. I’ve reached the point where I’ve been gluten-free for almost half my life. That is just shocking for me. Being gluten-free is just part of my life and I still get people asking me what the gluten-free food tasted like after I first started on this way of life because that’s exactly what it is. Fourteen years ago, gluten-free food was bland, boring, and quite frankly disgusting. I still use the nickname of cardboard for my waffles even though the flavor has improved immensely. The texture still isn’t what I really want but I’m now used to it.

peach pie

Peach Pie for the pie contest. (This is actually my trial run but the picture is better)

This past weekend was the Fair in my hometown and while I only entered two baked goods this year instead of the many I usually do, I still had fun. Not being able to enter more simply came down to cost. Money is tight right now and I needed to focus on saving. Next year I will be debt free (YEAH!!!!!) and I am planning a trip to Iceland.

In the fair this year I entered the pie contest (this year was peach) for the fifth time and sadly did not win…again.

Here are some tips when entering baking contests:

  1. Don’t be frustrated if you don’t win. It’s sad and I always want to get upset but really contests come down to the personal likes of the judges. You never know what they like and they might not like what you do.
  2. Listen to the judges critiques. Try to talk to the judges afterwards. Most Fairs hire judges that are professionals and will remember the majority of what they taste. I did this last year to see what advise they could offer. Last year my pie crust was flaky but not up to the judges standards. They suggested using lard rather than shortening. It worked. My crust this year was very flaky and tasted like a normal pie crust.
  3. If baking a pie, use a clear pie plate. That way the judges can see if the bottom crust is evenly browned all the way around. If it is a double-crust pie, make sure the top and bottom crusts are the same light, golden brown.
  4. Make sure a pie crust is perfectly even all the way around. This is why I didn’t go further this year.
  5. The top edge of a pie crust has to be the perfect thickness. If it’s too thick, it won’t baking properly all the way through. If it’s too thin, it will over cook.
  6. apple muffin

    Spiced Apple Cider Muffins

    For cookies, muffins or cupcakes, make sure you enter ones that all look the same. Eat the ones that are smaller or oddly-shaped. (Use the excuse of quality control if you must.)

  7. And the most important tip I can gave is – have fun. I may get frustrated and want to throw half of my stuff against the wall, but I do have fun. I learn a lot year-to-year and a lot of that comes from talking to the judges.

The other item I entered in the Fair this year were my Spice Apple Cider Muffins. I am happy to report that I got First Place!! I’m also going to give this recipe to my aunt that bakes at Black Sheep Coffee Roasters in Bishop, CA where they are trying to get more gluten-free options on their menu.

I’m hoping that I will be able to enter more.

A Healthier Year… Hopefully

So I decided that I really want to get back on my diet. I have gained back almost all of the weight that I lost three years ago. I cannot keep going down this path. Hopefully I will get my depression in line again and I know that will help a lot. It’s incredible what stress and depression can do to the human body. So I am willing to write about my journey on here and even share some very humiliating photos, but I want to do this because I know I’m not the only person in this situation. And please don’t think this is because I am one of those people who make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight. I’m doing this to get healthy since I don’t believe in making resolutions because they cause you to fail.

Tonight I decided to try something new. My boss brought in leftovers of some stuffed bell peppers that she made and it looked and smelled incredible. Knowing that I had to go to the grocery store, I decided to make my own thing using most of the ingredients my boss said that she used. This was so easy to make and used all fresh ingredients. Here’s what I did:

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 orange bell pepper, diced

1/2 medium sweet onion, diced

3 stalks of celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 package Extra Lean Jennie-O Ground Turkey

2 ripe tomatoes, diced

about 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

about 1-1/2 tbsp Herbs de Province

1 cup brown rice, cooked

1 cup baby spinach leaves

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Once heated sauté garlic, bell peppers, onion and celery. Add salt and pepper. Let them sweat for a few minutes until the onions are transparent. Add ground turkey and cook through. Add Herbs and rice. Cook for a few minutes to let all of the flavors absorb. Add the tomatoes just before removing from the heat. Add more salt, pepper or Herbs if needed. Serve hot over spinach. I added a little ketchup to mine just for a little sweetness and my grandma put some in a couple of tacos.

I can’t tell you what the nutritional values are. I don’t measure when I cook so sometimes it’s hard to get an exact recipe out of me. My great-grandmother and grandpa taught me how to cook and I swear it’s the Italian in me. I ate a smaller portion than what I would normally eat and it filled me up.

This year I want to eat healthier and buy more fresh produce than I used to. It might cost a little more but it will be healthier.