Life Hacks

Thursday

Easy Gluten-Free Black Forest Cake

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I have been wanting Black Forrest cake for what seems like FOREVER. It was a favourite of mine when I was growing up before I was diagnosed with Celiac. To put things in perspective, I have been navigating the gluten-free waters for well over ten years now. Enjoying some black forest cake, gluten-free of course has been long overdue.

Chocolate Cupcakes


What's a girl to do when she can't find a ready-made gluten-free version of her most favourite cake?! 


Make It At Home

Don't worry I am by no means a super amazing baker, which means you can totally pull this off too! Short-cuts and hacks are my best friends in the kitchen and I used a couple in this recipe.

You Won't Believe How Easy This Is


Seriously, it's a piece of cake.

All you need for the cupcakes is a boxed gluten-free chocolate cake mix. I used Betty Crocker because I love how moist and fluffy the final product turns out. But, you can use any boxed mix which you prefer. 


Ingredients

Chocolate Cake Mix

Whipping Cream
Sugar
Vanilla Extract
Maraschino Cherries
Chocolate Sprinkles
Red Sugar Crystals


Homemade Whipped Cream 

1 1/2 cup Whipping Cream
2 Tbsp Sugar 
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Place above ingredients for homemade whipped cream in a large bowl. Stir to combine. That's it for now, but ensuring everything is cold is super important. 
Place the beaters from a hand mixer in the bowl and cover with saran wrap. 
Put bowl, in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

Once chilled, beat with hand mixer until stiff peaks form.


Whipped Cream
Stiff Peaks

*Follow directions on chocolate cake mix box to make the cupcakes.

Once the cupcakes come out of the oven and cool, they are ready to be transformed. 


First up - deconstructed black forest cake... a trifle of sorts. 

To do this, I cut a cupcake into four layers. I then alternated between the following components:
cupcake slice
whipped cream
chocolate sprinkles 
red sugar crystals
maraschino cherries

Chocolate Cupcake


For my more traditional cupcakes, I used the OXO 1261080BK GG Cupcake Corer. It literally cores your cupcakes with little to no effort at all, leaving room for a surprise filling. Once I had created room for a filling, it was time to assemble. In the cupcakes vacant centre, I layered the whipped cream, maraschino cherries, chocolate sprinkles and red sugar crystals. The top of the cupcakes a capped off with a swirl of whipped cream, sprinkles, and sugar crystals. A single maraschino cherry completes this sweet treat.



Valentines Day Dessert
Just Look At That Goodness 


Have you created anything inspired by a favourite dessert? Let me know below.




Friday

Toaster Bags


Toaster bags are such a neat little invention. Although I don't use them in my own home as we have a separate toaster oven for all things Gluten Free, I would grab a set to take on vacation with me. Heck, they are probably good to keep on hand along with mini jams (GF ones of course) for those all too common occasions where you are headed somewhere which may not have "safe" options.


Where can you get them?

I searched online and found many places which offer the toaster bags in Canada. One problem I noticed was sky high pricing. So I have listed below, two sellers with reasonable prices.

If you are  American, a simple search of "toaster bags" on Amazon.com will provide you with several affordable brands



Regal offers a set of 4 toaster bags for $7.98. Shipping extra. 

















Plan It Products sells a set of 2 toaster bags for $6.00 via amazon.ca Shipping extra.









Have YOU tried Toaster bags? Let me know what you think!

Tuesday

My Dream "Mini" Kitchen




Here you have it folks. My dream kitchen! It's actually designed as a kosher kitchen but would work perfect as a Celiac friendly one. These  Armoire Kitchen's have mini versions of everything one would need to cook.

  • Two burner cook top
  • Exhaust hood
  • Dishwasher 
  • Fridge 
  • Sink
  • Microwave
As you can see, there is lots and lots of storage for all of your Gluten Free food and dedicated cookware / utensils.





I love that when you are done in the kitchen, you can just close up shop so to speak. Fear not as there is a built in safety feature that prevents the cook top from working while the panel doors are closed.



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Friday

A Gluten Free Oat Alternative

Have you tried Certified Gluten Free Oats?
I have and unfortunately I cannot tolerate them. I was surprised by how fast I reacted. It really hit me like a ton of bricks.....3 days of lethargy and un-wellness.

If you can't tolerate GF Oats or do not want to take the risk, I have an alternative. A safe and satisfying one. When I bake cookies, I add Quinoa Flakes (Ancient Harvest Quinoa to be exact) to the recipe. Add as much or as little as you like and you will be awed with the texture. Just like a real oatmeal cookie, minus the unruly side effects.


There is a whole world of recipes that you can add these neat little flakes to. All it takes is creativity and  a little a lot of patience. 


Here is some inspiration for adding Quinoa Flakes to recipes:

  • Cookies
  • Muffins
  • Yogurt
  • Apple Pie
  • Fruit and Nut Bars
  • Crusting Meat
  • Crab Cakes
  • Burgers
  • Stuffing

Wednesday

Gluten Free Play-Doh

Play-Doh brings back fond memories of being a child. Both the homemade and store bought kind made their way to my creative little hands. There's something so free spirited about Play-Doh. You can create virtually anything....as long as you have the imagination. The best part is how much fun people of all ages can have together with something as simple as this.


Here is a fun little recipe for Gluten Free Play-Doh. It's simple, quick and easily stored. Place it in a pretty jar wrapped in cellophane and attach some cookie cutters with a ribbon to make a great gift.


(check labels to make sure ingredients are GF)
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water 1 teaspoon cooking oil
  • Food coloring or a package of Kool-Aid (not only does the Kool-Aid add colour, but it creates a nice aroma for the Play Doh too!
Directions:
Mix ingredients. Cook and stir on low heat for 3 minutes or until it forms a ball. Cool completely before placing in an air tight container. Store in refrigerator.




Non Cook Method
1/4 Cup Salt
1 Cup GF Flour
1/4 Cup Water





Play-Doh accessories to keep on hand:
Small rolling pins
Plastic cookie cutters of varying shapes
Muffin tins for shaping
Safety scissors & dull plastic knives
Popsicle sticks
A spray bottle to moisten any Doh that is drying 

Look around your local Dollar Store for these and other fun possibilities




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© Gluten Free Doll. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.