Portabello Pizzas


6 large portabello mushroom tops, stems removed and gills scraped
extra-virgin olive oil, for liberal drizzling plus 1 tablespoon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound Italian sweet sausage, casings removed
1/2 pint grape tomatoes
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup basil leaves, shredded or torn
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano


Preheat broiler.

Dress the mushroom caps with liberal drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil the portabello mushrooms 5 minutes on each side until tender.

While caps are broiling heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat, add sausage and brown and crumble the meat, then add tomatoes to skillet and cook another few minutes until they burst. Add cream to skillet and reduce 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove the sausage from heat and fold in basil.

Fill mushroom caps and top with cheese, place under broiler to brown 2 to 3 minutes then quarter caps and serve.

NOTE: I like to do the portabellos on a grill instead of in the oven.

Spiced Coconut Cake


1 cup brown sugar
1 cup rice flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 egg, beaten
1 cup coconut milk/cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup coconut (I use unsweetened, fine coconut)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped, or other nut


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x9 baking pan.

Combine flour, baking soda and nutmeg in a small bowl. Cream butter and sugar together add the egg. Slowly add dry ingredients alternating with coconut cream. Add vanilla. Mix well.

Fold in coconut and pecans. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until done. Allow to cool.

This cake is pretty moist, so I don't usually put any frosting on unless I'm expecting company. You can also change up the nutmeg for apple pie spice, pumpkin pie spice or any combination you like.

This recipe is also linked on...

This Week's Cravings: Special Diets (GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, NUT FREE and MORE)

3-Cheese Mac 'n Cheese


1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 cups shredded mild Cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
8 ounces processed cheese (Velveeta), melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook macaroni to al dente according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, butter, mustard, salt and pepper until combined. Stir in the 1-1/2 cups of each cheddar cheese. Stir in the processed cheese.

Drain macaroni; stir into cheese mixture. Pour into a greased 3-qt. baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are bubbly. Allow the mac 'n cheese to "rest" for 10 to 15 minutes before serving (I keep mine in the turned off oven so it doesn't cool too much)

This recipe is also linked to...

It's a Blog Party's Fall Fest Recipes 2011

Raspberry Coconut-Almond Cookie Bar

For the bottom cookie crust:

1 cup hazelnut flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla

For the filling:

14 oz. really good raspberry jam or preserves

For the crumble topping:

1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
5 Tbsp shortening

For the coconut-almond topping:

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2/3 cup sliced almonds
4 tablespoons vegan buttery spread (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9x13-inch baking pan by lining it with parchment paper. Cut a piece large enough to extend up both long sides of the pan- so you can grip it later, after baking, and lift the cookie bars out in one piece.

First, make the bottom cookie crust. In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine flours, sugar, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder and nutmeg. Cut in shortening and vanilla with a pastry cutter. The dough should be crumbly, a bit sandy, but moist enough that it sticks together when you pinch it. Scoop the dough into the prepared baking pan and press it out evenly to form a cookie crust.

Bake the crust in the center of a preheated oven for 7 minutes- just to "set" it. Remove from the oven and set aside. Keep the oven pre-heated.

While the crust is still warm, spoon on the raspberry jam and using the back of a spoon spread it evenly over the crust, up to the edges- leaving about 1/4-inch bare crust on all sides.

Make the crumble topping. In a bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. Drizzle with the vanilla extract and dabs of the shortening. Rub together with the palms of your hands to create crumbles. Sprinkle on the crumble topping.

In a saucepan, gently melt the butter. Add the flaked coconut, sliced almonds and vanilla and stir to coat. Remove from heat and set aside. Spoon on the coconut-almond mixture and spread it evenly all over the top.

Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 22 minutes. The raspberry jam will be bubbling and the crumble topping will be golden and the coconut toasted. The center of the top may still feel a bit soft- that's okay; it will set as as it cools.

Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool. When the cookie bars are completely cool, gently loosen any stuck edges around the sides of the pan. Place a sturdy cutting board next to the pan (at least the same size as the pan). Lift the bars from the pan using the parchment paper as a grip on each side and move the whole big piece to the cutting board. Place the board in the freezer to chill the bars. Say, twenty minutes or so. Remove the bars and slice with a large sharp knife.

Wrap leftover bars, bag and freeze.

Gluten-Free Donut Holes


2 eggs, beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
5 cups rice flour blend (*see note)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp nutmeg


Combine eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter in a large bowl. Mix well with a wire whisk or fork.

Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to the wet. Mix by hand with a large spoon. (Do not use an electric mixer).

Let batter rest for about 15 minutes. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface. If dough is sticky, work in more rice flour blend.

Use a small cookie scoop to make the doughnut holes, they give a nice 1" size doughnut hole, perfect bite size snack. Dip the cookie scoop in the hot oil before scooping helps the dough to not stick in the scoop.

Fry in 1 to 3 inches of very hot oil (375 degrees F) until brown on one side. Turn doughnuts over and brown on second side.

While doughnuts are still warm, toss in a mixture of white sugar & cinnamon to coat. Serve warm.

*NOTE: Rice flour blend is 6 parts rice flour, 2 parts potato starch, and 1 part tapioca starch.

NOTE: Like all GF baking, it is best when fresh, however, it can be frozen & reheated in a 350 degree F oven when you want to serve them.

This recipe is also linked on...

This Week's Cravings: Special Diets (GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, NUT FREE and MORE)

Lemon Bars


1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs beaten
2 cups sugar
4 Tbsp flour
6 Tbsp lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix flour, butter, powdered sugar and salt. Put in 9 x13 pan (I smooth it out but don't really pat it down). Bake for 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking, mix together eggs, sugar, flour and lemon juice. Pour over hot baked crust. Bake for another 25 minutes.

Cool and cut. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

This recipe is also linked to...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Yellow

Mudslide Cupcakes


3 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup strong coffee, at room temperature
3/4 cup Kahlua

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake pans (24 cupcakes) with paper liners. (You may get a couple extras out of this - I did.)

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites until frothy with whisk attachment. Slowly add in sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition. Measure coffee, vanilla and Kahlua and stir together in measuring cup. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the batter and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Add 1/2 the Kahlua mixture, mix until incorporated and repeat alternating flour and Kahlua, ending with flour mixture. Gently fold in egg whites.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full and bake approximately 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool about 10 minutes and transfer to wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

Bailey's Irish Cream Buttercream

1 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 lbs powdered sugar

Beat butter on medium speed until smooth. Add Bailey's and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add powdered sugar, 2 cups at a time, mixing on low speed until frosting is the desired consistency. Pipe onto cupcakes as desired. I piped these with a large star tip.

This recipe is also linked on...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Cupcakes

Cream of Mushroom Soup


5 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup half-and-half
salt and pepper to taste


In a large heavy saucepan, cook mushrooms in the broth with onion and thyme until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.

In blender or food processor, puree the mixture , leaving some chunks of vegetable in it. Set aside. ** I usually strain out about half of the mushroom mixture before I puree it because I like my soup on the chunky side. **

In the saucepan, melt the butter, whisk in the cornstarch until smooth. Add the salt, pepper, half and half and vegetable puree. Stirring constantly, bring soup to a boil and cook until thickened. Adjust seasonings to taste.

This recipe is also linked on...

This Week's Cravings: Special Diets (GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, NUT FREE and MORE)

Sticky Toffee Pudding


1 1/3 cups pitted dates, chopped
3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup whole brazil nuts
1 cup pecan halves
2 cups grated raw parsnip
3 cups grated raw carrot
1 Tbsp creamy honey (not the clear liquid honey)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 medium eggs
2 Tbsp cooking molasses (not blackstrap molasses)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

For the sauce
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2 tsp cooking molasses (not blackstrap molasses)
1 Tbsp creamy honey (not the clear liquid honey)
Pinch of salt
6 Tbsp black tea (such as English breakfast)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch square pan with baking parchment paper and lightly oil the sides.

Place the dates in a bowl and add the boiling water, before wrapping in plastic wrap and setting aside.

Place both varieties of nuts into a food processor and blitz until they resemble a powder. Add the grated parsnip, carrot, buckwheat flour, vanilla, honey, eggs, molasses and salt into the food processor and blitz until well blended. Add the baking soda and baking powder and whiz up again. Slowly add some of the water from the dates until the mix is a thick cake batter. Add the dates and pulse briefly or blitz it depending if you want chunks of dates or not.

Empty the mixture into the prepared pan and place in the middle of a hot oven for one hour. You may need to place a piece of foil over the cake 45 minutes into the cooking time to prevent it from colouring too much on the top.

While you're waiting you can make the sauce, to do this just place all the ingredients into a small sauce pan and bring to the boil.

Whisk the sauce thoroughly and boil hard for 3 minutes until syrupy and glossy. Then set aside.

Serve the sticky toffee pudding with the sauce- it is lovely when still slightly warm...

Hunter Style Chicken & Barley Risotto


4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
12 white mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 3/4 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 can (10 oz/284 mL) condensed cream of celery soup
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup pot barley
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish


Cook bacon in large non-stick skillet at medium-high heat until very crisp. Remove bacon and set aside.

Add chicken and cook and stir until browned – about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and onions and cook for 3 minutes.

Stir in bacon and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer at low heat until barley is tender, stirring occasionally – about 35 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies


2/3 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup corn starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp gluten-free baking soda
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp gluten-free vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chip
1 Tbsp milk (optional)
1/2 cup macadamia nuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or use non-stick spray to grease the baking sheets.

In a medium bowl, whisk flours/starches, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt.

Cream butter, brown sugar and sugar until incorporated, add eggs and vanilla extract until blended.

Stir the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until incorporated. If the dough appears to be a little dry, add in milk but it's entirely optional.

Stir in white chocolate chip and macadamia nuts into the cookie dough.

Use a tablespoon to scoop the cookie dough onto prepared cooking sheet, space them about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies turn golden.

Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them into a wire rack to cool completely.

This recipe is also linked on...

This Week's Cravings: Special Diets (GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, NUT FREE and MORE)

Thyme Salmon


4 salmon fillets , with skin (1 lb/500 g)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves of garlic , minced
2 tsp thyme


Arrange salmon fillets, skin side down, in single layer in shallow glass dish. Set dish aside.

In small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and garlic; stir in thyme. Spread over salmon. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F and cook for about 15 to 25 minutes or until salmon is opaque and flakes easily when tested with fork. Or you can grill it on the BBQ until the salmon is done.

This recipe is also linked on...

This Week's Cravings: BBQ/Grilling

Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa


1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup quinoa
1/2 cup fresh berries
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
a handful of chopped pecans, toasted
1 tsp honey


Quinoa has a natural bitter coating called saponin. If you are buying quinoa in bulk, you will need to soak it for a few minutes and then rinse it in cold clear water until the “soapy” residue is gone. Some boxed brands may be pre-rinsed, but they still retain the nutritional goodness.

Combine milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in berries and cinnamon; transfer into a bowl and top with pecans. Drizzle with honey.

While the quinoa cooks, roast the pecans in a 350 degree F toaster oven for 5 to 6 minutes or in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes.