Archive for Special Occasion
Something I usually make during the holiday season is Poppy Seed Bread. Although the poppy seed bread is cooked in a small loaf pan, it is really a cake. In my mind it’s too sweet and fine-textured to be considered a bread. But, we slice it like bread, and tradition says we call it bread.
Every year, my mom makes Poppy Seed Bread to give to friends and co-workers for the holidays. I, too, have continued this tradition. This year, rather than making it from scratch, I decided to take the easy way and use Betty Crocker’s Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix. I was a little concerned about the amounts, but was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out. I added some flavorings and poppy seeds to the mix, as well as eggs, milk and oil. It made a very nice poppy seed cake that I then covered with a thin, sweet glaze.
These cakes can be made up in advance and frozen until time to give them away for the holidays. Once I’ve made the cakes and let them cool completely, I wrap each one individually with plastic wrap. Then, I place them in a zip-style plastic bag. Sealed like this, you can keep them in the refrigerator for at least a week, or in the freezer for several weeks. They will defrost quite quickly at room temperature. Or, defrost them in the refrigerator overnight.
Poppy Seed Bread Made With Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
For the Cake:
1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
2/3 Cup milk
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
1 TBSP poppy seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp butter flavoring
1 tsp almond flavoring
For the Glaze:
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1/4 Cup granulated sugar
1/4 Cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp butter flavoring
1 tsp almond flavoring
- In a medium mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Then add in the remaining cake ingredients (cake mix, milk, oil, poppy seeds, vanilla extract, butter flavoring and almond flavoring). Mix until thoroughly blended.
- Pour into greased, small/mini loaf pans. (I use an oil spray, but you can use butter or shortening.)
- Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350° F.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and cool in the pans on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the glaze. Combine all the glaze ingredients and mix well.
- Pour the glaze over each cake (still warm in the pan). Let it sit for 5 minutes, then remove and let it cool completely on racks.
- I made three small loaves with this recipe, but probably could’ve made two slightly larger loaves. This recipe will also make one full-size loaf.
- I used the small, or sometimes called mini, aluminum foil loaf pans (about 3.5″ x 6″ x 2″h) you find in the grocery stores. I’ve used them over and over, washing each time in the dishwasher. If you’re wanting a more permanent solution, try these Mini Loaf Pans.
- For presenting these as gifts, I usually keep the bread wrapped in plastic wrap and then tie it with a nice festive ribbon. For more color, you can use colored plastic wrap that is easy to find during the holidays. Sometimes I will also put the bread in a clear plastic gift bag, or treat bag and then tie with a nice ribbon. You can also use colored cellophane to wrap it, and tie with ribbon at both ends. It all just depends on how and when you want to present it.
- If not giving these away as gifts, put them in the freezer. Then the night before Thanksgiving or Christmas, put them into the refrigerator to defrost overnight. By morning it will be a nice treat to eat for breakfast, or maybe a snack while opening stockings, with a cup of tea.
For more edible gift ideas, be sure to visit Cents To Get Debt Free. I’m a little late to the blog carnival, so there are already plenty of other great ideas for edible gifts. Please be aware that some of the contributions at the carnival may not be gluten-free, but there are still plenty that are GF and other good ideas that could be modified to be GF.
If you are new to the gluten-free diet, you may not realize that there could be gluten in the frozen turkeys at the grocery store. It is not always clearly marked. I looked at one this week that said it had turkey broth in it. I didn’t do any further research into it, but I’m guessing it had gluten in it. So I passed it up and went for the turkey that clearly said it was gluten-free on the label.
You may want to try a fresh turkey with no additives, but I went with a frozen bird this year. I don’t remember the reasoning, but after doing a little research last year, I took Alton Brown’s advice for a frozen turkey. We used his recipe for Good Eats Roast Turkey last time. It was really good, so we’ll probably use it again.
So what frozen turkeys can you buy? You can find a great list of companies that provide gluten-free turkeys at Harris Whole Health. I bought a Shady Brook Farms turkey this year. I decided on the inexpensive (47¢ a lb., on special) option, since I was buying a 20 lb. turkey. When I told my mom I had bought a 20-pound turkey, she was concerned that my roasting pan wouldn’t be big enough. So, I got it out to try it. Well Mom, remember that nice Calphalon Roasting Pan with Rack you bought me a couple years ago? It works great. Thanks!
Butterball turkeys are also gluten-free. Tiffany at Triumph Dining posted a great article about gluten-free turkeys. She confirmed with Butterball that their turkeys are still gluten-free, and found out that their gravy packets are now gluten-free, too! Read her complete post and other Thanksgiving posts at the Triumph Dining Blog.
Want more turkey? Check out these gluten-free recipes and tips at other websites:
Gluten-Free Turkey for Thanksgiving at Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef
Special Turkey Breast at Gluten Free Easily
CrockPot Whole Turkey and CrockPot Turkey Breast at A Year of Slow Cooking
Mom’s Roast Turkey at Simply Recipes
Friday Foodie Fix – Turkey at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang
Thanksgiving gluten-free and food allergy tips at Sure Foods Living
This naturally gluten-free recipe has been a family favorite for years. You may call it avocado dip or even avocado pico de gallo, but my family lovingly calls it “Ugly Dip.” Why ugly you ask? I’m not sure, but someone must have thought it was ugly at one time. This dip is best after chilling in the refrigerator for a few hours (or overnight) to allow the flavors to mingle. Of course, if left too long the pretty green and yellow avocado may start to turn brown. Maybe that’s where the “ugly” title got started. I’ve found that the vinegar in the recipe helps keep it all looking and tasting fresh for at least 24 hours if sealed tight in a plastic container.
It makes a perfect appetizer for a party. Make it the night before, or the morning before the party. It only takes about ten minutes to prepare, seal tightly and place in the refrigerator. A couple hours later, take it out and serve with some tortilla chips.
So, here’s another reason why I love this dip so much: You don’t have to wait for the avocado to be perfectly ripe. This tastes great with an almost ripe avocado. (You know, it has a dark skin, but it’s still firm — not really soft enough for guacamole.) So next time you think about making guacamole, but the avocados are too firm, try this instead. You won’t be disappointed.
Avocado Salsa (aka. Ugly Dip) Recipe
1 firm avocado, seeded, peeled and chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1 small can (4 oz.) of chopped black olives
1 small can (4 oz.) of chopped green chiles
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- Combine all ingredients and mix well.
- Refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight.
- Serve with tortilla chips.
- This is a mild dip. It has good flavor, but isn’t spicy. If you prefer something with a little more kick, add one or two finely chopped jalapeños.
- This is also great served as a pico de gallo. Consider adding it to tacos, salads, or fajitas. Or, as I did here, on top of Cilantro Rice, slow-cooked Mexican Chicken, and shredded cheddar.
More gluten-free appetizer recipes at The Gluten-Free Homemaker’s “What Can I Eat That’s Gluten-Free?”
More gluten-free Super Bowl Party Foods at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.
For football party ideas, check out Celebrate-It!
This year my son was introduced to Pokémon by his cousins and classmates. Overnight, it seemed like we had hundreds of Pokémon cards floating around our house. So, it was no surprise that my son requested a Pokémon cake for his birthday. I asked him what he had in mind and he told me he wanted Pikachu and Darkrai battling. I was hoping for a black-and-white Pokéball, but I figured I could try making a Pikachu. However, battling with Darkrai was a little more than I wanted to attempt.
I always make a birthday cake the day before the party and then decorate it that evening after the kids go to bed. Some nights that doesn’t leave me a lot of time to get it done, and still get decent sleep. So, I decided to try making an icing plaque of Pikachu earlier in the week. Then, I could just place it on the cake after frosting it. (I found a website, Cookie Journey, that had some good tips and illustrations for doing this for cookies.) I was also hoping that allowing it to dry before placing it on the cake would keep the colors from running into the frosting. For my daughter’s birthday earlier this year, I decorated a cake with my version of The Little Mermaid on it. I used royal icing to create her human half, but I did it directly on the cake. It looked pretty good the first couple hours, but overnight the colors ran and the icing cracked. It was OK, and my daughter still thought it was great. But, I wanted to see if I could improve the results by making the decoration in advance on parchment paper, letting it dry thoroughly, and then placing it on the cake.
So, here’s what I did for Pikachu: First I searched around the internet for an image of Pikachu. I quickly found one and printed it out. I didn’t even have to change the size. It was perfect for what I needed. Next, I placed parchment paper on top of the printed picture and taped it down to a small cookie sheet. Then I made some royal icing. I used the egg white recipe at Joy of Baking. It was a lot of icing — much more than I needed. But, I was experimenting and I figured it was better to have more than enough in case I needed to make duplicates. If you have an allergy to egg whites, or just don’t like using raw egg whites, Joy of Baking also has a recipe that uses meringue powder instead.
I started by coloring a small amount of icing with Wilton black gel. Then, I transferred the black icing to a decorating bag with a small round tip (Wilton #2). Then, outlined the picture of Pikachu with the black icing. I let it set overnight to make sure it was good and dry before filling with yellow. The next day I bumped the paper, and the black icing broke…in several pieces. So, I started over with the black icing, this time making thicker lines hoping it would be a little sturdier. I also made the eyes and mouth to place on it later.
Day three I mixed a small bowl of icing with yellow gel and a little water to thin it out for a smooth filling. Using a small spoon and toothpick I filled in the Pikachu picture with the yellow icing. I gave it an hour for the surface to dry, then I placed the eyes, cheeks and mouth on it. It seemed to be going OK, but I put it in the refrigerator and didn’t give it enough time to dry. I should have given it another eight hours to dry, but I didn’t want to wait until the day of the party. So, I gave it another hour to dry then carefully placed it on the cake. It cracked, but it still worked. And the colors didn’t run too much. I thought I started early enough, but next time I would start with the icing plaques at least a week in advance to make sure they are thoroughly dry. Or, maybe I need to start experimenting with fondant instead.
The most important part is that my son seemed happy with the cake. As a backup plan, I had purchased some Pokémon characters to put on the cake. I decided to put them on the cake with Pikachu. Not exactly a battle with Darkrai, but it seemed to please the birthday boy.
I used a Namaste Foods Wheat Free, Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Mix for the top layer. I mixed it according to package directions and baked in a 9 x 13 glass pan.
I used two of The Gluten-Free Pantry Decadent Chocolate Cake Mixes for the bottom layer. I mixed the two together according to package directions (using plain yogurt) and baked as one cake in a 9 x 13 pan at 350° F for 50 min. It was a very big cake! But it was cooked through and still very moist and yummy.
Frosting layer between the two cakes: I used Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge frosting — one whole can.
To cover the cake, I used a Pillsbury can of Vanilla Frosting and colored it yellow for the sides and the decorative border. I think I had about a 1/4 of the frosting leftover. For the top of the cake, I used 1/2 – 3/4 of a can of Pillsbury Vanilla Frosting. I left it white so the spray food coloring would be true to the colors.
I used Wilton Color Spray Mist (green, red, and blue) to make wide stripes of color on the top. I used a curved piece of cardboard to help mask areas of the cake I didn’t want to get sprayed.
For the decorative border: I just used a simple star pattern using Wilton’s open star tip #32. If you don’t have decorating tips, you could use candy to line the edges. Try M&Ms, Skittles, dot candy, etc.
The cake tasted pretty good. The vanilla cake is not my favorite for birthday cakes: I like a finer texture, but the flavor is good. The chocolate cake was fabulous as always. As for the frosting: A buttercream frosting probably would have tasted better, but it’s so much faster to open a can. I’m so glad it’s gluten-free!