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Gluten Free – Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Box Cake

11 Dec


Last week I went to Florida to surprise my mom, I literally just flew across the US and walked into her house at 7 pm. She was shocked to say the least! We had a lovely time just doing nothing!

On the flight home I sat next to a really sweet gal named Camron, we started joking immediatly and I knew the long flight would be less dreadful than usual. We struck up a conversation about gluten because the snack packs on the flight were less than desirable for gluten low gals, especially for a person with Celiac. She let me know that she had been involved in the Betty Crocker® Gluten Free baking contest. I am always looking for Gluten Free items that are more mainstream that anyone can make, this one fits the bill. So if you are experimenting with gluten free, try this one! Thanks to my new friend Cameron for making the flight way more fun than it usually is!


Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Box Cake

1 box Betty Crocker® Gluten Free chocolate chip cookie mix 1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla
1 egg

2 cups whipping cream
12 oz gluten-free mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa Chocolate shavings or miniature chocolate chips

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, mix cookie mix, butter, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and the egg until soft dough forms.
  2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets to make 36 cookies.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  4. In large bowl, beat whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, sugar, cocoa and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until blended. Beat on high speed until soft peaks form.
  5. To assemble cake, arrange 7 cookies in bottom of 8- or 9-inch springform pan. Break 1 additional cookie apart to fill in spaces. Spread 1 cup of the whipped cream mixture evenly over cookies. Arrange 7 more cookies over whipped cream layer; top with additional 1 cup whipped cream mixture. Repeat 3 more times with remaining cookies and whipped cream mixture. Spread the top smooth; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 12 hours.

         6. To serve, run a sharp knife around edge of pan to release cake. Remove side of pan. Place cake on serving plate. Garnish with chocolate. Cut into wedges. Store covered in refrigerator.

Nutrition Information
Calories:370; Calories from Fat:210; Carbohydrate Choice:2 1/2; Cholesterol:75mg; Fat:4 1/2; Other Carbohydrate:1 1/2; Potassium:45mg; Sodium:220mg; Starch:1; Total Carbohydrate:38g; Total Fat:23g; Monounsaturated Fat:4 1/2g; Polyunsaturated Fat:1/2g; Protein:3g; Saturated Fat:14g; Sugars:25g; Trans Fat:1/2g; Fats & Oils:2tsp;


Bullseye Pops

11 Jun

EMWC Summer 2013 Stone's Soup Corner

THE KIDS are ALL Right

Photo Matthew Carden

Another share from Edible Marin Wine Country, I couldn’t pass up sharing this recipe!

When I sat down to write this issue’s Stone’s Soup Corner, I thought I had it all worked out. Melon soup was on the agenda. Perfect for summer— cool, refreshing and easy.

I usually clear my ideas with my 9-year-old daughter before I discuss them with my editor, but this time I never got around to asking her what she thought about this soup idea. Her reaction when she heard: “Mom, no kid is going to eat that!”

And she was right. I had lost sight of whom I was writing for. So, together, we brainstormed for a summer melon-y idea and came up with these creamy pops.

Food is at the center of so much of our lives and too often it becomes simply a chore. We shoo the kids away so we can get the cooking done, clean up and get on to the next task. But food should be fun, not stressful or humorless. That is why I like cooking for kids and silly grown-ups.

Sometimes on a hot day sharing a moment with a sloppy, drippy homemade pop is simply the right thing to do. Forget all the to-do lists and the dirty laundry, just for a moment. These Bull’s Eye Honeydew Pops highlight the ripest melons of the season. They are creamy, refreshing and dairy free!

Make an extra batch to keep in your freezer—it’s nice to have homemade pops ready for a playdate or family dessert on a hot summer night.


Bullseye Honeydew Pops

Yield: 6 regular-size pops or 24 ice-cube-size pops

3⁄4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1⁄2 cup sugar
6 large mint leaves (Mint grows wild, so go check your garden before

you buy it at the market.)
3 cups very ripe Honeydew melon flesh (about 1⁄2 a melon 24 fresh or frozen cherries
Decorative straws (cut to size) or Popsicle sticks

Extra Tools

Straws or wooden Popsicle sticks

Small pop molds (Note: pop molds look great, but an ice cube tray will work just fine.)

Add coconut milk, sugar and mint leaves to a small saucepan and warm slowly over medium heat, scraping the sides constantly with a rubber spatula. When the sugar is dissolved, remove pan from heat and cool mixture to room temperature.

Dice the melon flesh into small pieces and place in a blender. Drain the mint from the cooled syrup, then add syrup to the blender. Blend until smooth and frothy.

Place four cherries into each pop mold—or, if you are using ice cube trays to make your pops, place a stick or straw into each cherry and place 1 in each cube reservoir.

Pour the coconut-melon mixture around the cherries in each mold, then place a straw or Popsicle stick into the center. If you are using ice cube trays, carefully pour the mixture around each cherry in the tray.

Freeze for 4 hours or until firm.

edible marin & wine country summer 2013 | 53

Perfect in Pink!

16 Jun

20120616-170940.jpgI usually plan my posts! I’m a very image driven person, unless I have a good photo to work from I don’t want to write. I worry that if I don’t plan my posts they may be lackluster or too boring. BUT…. today I made this and snapped a shot very quickly while entertaining kids!
Anyway I think the 95 degree day is getting to me. It’s hot as hell here and I’ve got two girls in the back yard soaking each other. They are on the swing spraying each other with the hose. So for better or worse you get a quickie post today.20120616-172015.jpg
I’m running food and drink to them out back, keeping them in the shade and hydrated.


This is what I came up with to drink on the fly.

Strawberry Lemonade Cooler
Depending on your blender you may have to cut up the fruit. If you have a Vitamix or Blendtech don’t bother cutting the fruit.

1 pint very ripe organic strawberries
2 cups Limeade or lemonade
4 ice cubes
Mint from the garden if desired

Wash and trim strawberries. Add to the blender with lemonade and ice. Blend.
Serve with a strawberry and mint garnish.

Life is a Bowl Of Cherries!

8 Jun

Our cherry monkey!

The cherries almost always ripen the weekend of Claire’s birthday, May 11th which is also Mother’s Day. This year they ripened late, surprising but in the end a blessing. Let me tell you what usually happens every year…usually the cherries ripen over night, one day they are not ready and the next they are bursting. Well, do you know how smart crows are? Crows are they are really really smart. I have tried everything to deter them from eating our sweet delicious cherries, we really try. The sad part is, is that day when the cherries ripen, the crows call all their sleek feathered friends over and by 8 am the trees are empty. They suck them off the tree like a cartoon cat eats a fish, in one inhale! Sometimes you can find a half eaten cherry swinging in the breeze but more than not those trees are empty. Under the trees in a massacre of the unsavory cherries the birds rejected. They don’t even leave them on the trees to ripen they just toss them to the ground to taunt us.  Now I will tell you about the miracle that happened in our yard this year. We have a bird bath and I kept it full for the first time in forever, it attracted two Blue Jays, big beautiful ones, who love to splash around in our bath. They also like cherries but are much more polite than the crows, they eat one a day, not much.20120608-221023.jpg

The crows hate them, so it worked in our favor to host the Jays. They got very friendly and comfortable here in our yard one friend dubbed them “Guard Jay’s” and they were. Needless to say they kept the Crows away and we got an amazing harvest, almost 60 pounds of amazingly plump cherries. The problem is that I noticed the yard is very quiet the last few days, it seems that the Jay’s are gone, little freeloaders were just using us for our cherries. I thought they really liked us and were protecting our cherries, oh well they moved on. Today the crows enjoyed some of my baby lettuces, anyone have some Jay’s I can borrow? Darn crows!



Puffy custardy cherry pancake


Stems and bad cherries

I have never canned anything on a large-scale but I felt like I couldn’t let the cherries go to waste. I canned them in a simple syrup, it was easy and I may just be a convert to canning! Claire and I set out to can as many as we could, we ended up with about 50 jars! The kids can help if you keep organized, let them know you are using hot stuff! They can put the cherries in to the jars and help put the rings on the jars too.

Canned Sweet Cherries

Make use of a bot of boiling water to make utensils sterile and for making hot rags to wipe the jars with.  You can save the left over juice form the eaten cherries to use for drinks, like Shirley Temples!

(Rainier or Bing)

10 pounds sweet cherries (Rainier, Bing, or other sweet variety

16 cups water

8 cups sugar

vanilla beans

Wash jars and place  on a cookie sheet a 300 degree oven on their sides. For sterile jars leave in about 45 minutes to an hour.

boil lids to sterilize.

Wash cherries in a sterile sink or bowl and pit your cherries. I left mine with pits,in for a nuttier flavor.

Combine the water and sugar in a large saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Keep hot (but not boiling) while you prepare  your jars.

Keep your jars in the oven until and take them out in small batches as you fill them. Do not add hot syrup to a cold jar it will crack.

With a clean sterile spoon, stuff cherries as you can into each jar, press them down.


Washing cherries

I had tons of vanilla beans so I added 1 inch pieces of whole vanilla bean to some of my jars.

Using a ladle fill each jar with the hot syrup, stopping  just shy of the rim. I like to do this on a rimmed cookie sheet.  With a clean, hot, wet cloth, wipe the rims of the jars and place the sealers and lids on top. Tighten with your hands.

Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

Remove from the water bath carefully place jars on a towel, let cool, and listen for the pops.  Of course, refrigerate any jars that do not seal and eat them immediately.


The last of our harvest after removing stems


Claire stuffing jars


Using a sterile spoon to stuff jars



A custard-y cherry pancake made with our fresh cherries. I used Michelle Stern’s puffy apple pancake recipe from her book, Whole Family Cookbook.

Adapted from Michelle Stern’s Whole Family Cookbook

I made this batter in a blender, it was really easy and clean up was a breeze. If you have a Vitamix or Blendtec I recommend using them for this recipe. A regular blender works fine too. Add all the ingredients to a blender jar and whirl just until blended and follow the ecooking directions.

Serves 4

5 Tbs. Butter, divided
3/4 cup Milk
3 Tbs. Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
1  tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Salt 
1/2 cup Flour

1 cup fresh sweet cherries, pitted 

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave or in a saucepan.

In a medium-sized bowl, crack the eggs.

Beat the eggs lightly and then add the melted butter.

Measure milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, vanilla,  ground cinnamon, salt, and flour, and add them to the eggs.

Mix all of the ingredients until the batter is well blended.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a 10″ ovenproof skillet.  Add cherries and cook until they are soft 5 minutes.

Put on oven mitts and take the skillet off the heat. Pour the batter over the cherries.

Place the skillet into the oven and cook for 15-25 minutes until gently browned and puffed. (Do not open the oven during the first 15 minutes of the cooking process, or the puff will deflate!)

Put on oven mitts, remove the skillet from the oven, and immediately place an oven mitt over the handle, so that you won’t accidentally burn your hand.

Cut the puff into wedges and serve immediately.





Home Sick

24 Apr

Shaved blueberries and ice.

No, it’s not warm out and we are not happily eating frozen treats. Unfortunately after a two-week school break we are home with Strep with a touch of Croup. I thought for sure after two weeks of hanging around the house, school would be a welcome relief, but no. Our Kidlet is under the covers with a horrible sore throat and terrible cough. She doesn’t want to eat, or sleep or do much of anything. (I thought I’d write something before I am totally stricken down with what she has, I am 50% there already) She isn’t eating, because the hot soup hurts and nothing else sounds tasty. The saving grace is our 5 dollar second-hand, unopened Hawaiian Ice Shaver. I picked it up one day at Goodwill, thinking to myself, “I really shouldn’t buy this.” It has turned out to be a life saver on hot days, and sick days! On hot days we make shave ice with flavorings and fresh frozen fruit. Sometimes we just shave fruit like frozen peaches, the kids love it!

Kidlet loves the cold ice on her sore throat and it is a terrific way to get liquids into her.  She must be part polar bear because this kid can put away ice like nobody’s business! Usually when little ones are sick they just want Otter Pops or Popsicles but I hate all that sugar and over packaging. This easy two ingredient recipe is a low sugar, no preservative way to get them hydrated. If you don’t have a shave ice machine you can pick one up over here for 24.00$. Check you local second-hand shop, you never know what you will find. You can also serve it up the caveman style by adding fruit and ice to a zip top bag and hammering away (but not on your tile countertops.)

Bottom line, get them hydrated any way you can because they will get better faster and be back to school in no time.

P.S. I take no responsiblity for the blueberry stains on the kid or all over the house!

Shave Ice for Sicky

If you don’t have a fancy shave ice machine but have a food processor, fit it with a thin slicer blade and throw in some frozen peaches or strawberries to get a yummy shaved fruit treat!

I think we are partial to blueberries because when they get shaved they look really cool!!

1/4 cup frozen organic blueberries or other fruit

about 6 ice cubes

Add everything to machine, shave away in to a large bowl.


Rainbow and Squirrel Sandwiches (not what you think)

25 Oct
We made it through September and October seems to be even busier!! Seriously is it me or do we get busier every year? What happened to the down time it must be somewhere, I am still looking!! The preparing dinners is tough enough, but making lunches can leave you at a loss too. Walking in to the kitchen groggy and trying to juggle breakfast, finding missing socks and making sure homework is in the backpack can be a real chore. The last thing you want to do is make a bunch of lunches, am I wrong? Well I can’t help with that because the kids have to eat!! At our school we have to bring lunch everyday we do not have a lunch program (yet).  Over one hundred and twenty or more lunches in a school year can seem daunting, and if you have more than one child…well you get my drift!  
          When winter comes I immediately get out the Thermos and go for soups and stews, warmth during the day can give a child that little boost they need. But until then I like to make sandwiches, the problem is that my daughter has never been a fan of the sandwich. She much prefers a warm lunch, something homemade of course but that can’t always happen. Recently I remembered I had some edible markers I usually use to draw on hard boiled eggs with. My discovery that they work on bread was a gold mine!!! I can write notes like “I miss you” or “drink more water” on her bread!! 
The best part is that she likes make her own lunches (with some persuading) because the markers are fun to use. We make the sandwich the night before so we are not rushed in the morning. We only do this once a week to keep it special but it sure is fun!!  We add, fruit, cheese and crackers, and a veggie like cucumbers or carrots. I very rarely add any sugary treats unless it is home baked like banana bread.   This gives me a break the next morning so I can gear up my creative brain for the next day’s lunch.

Try going to a thrift shop for cookie cutters, Ikea has some fun ones too!  I have a large collection and find that I almost never make cookies with them. They work so well for “sandies” as we call them in our house!

Cookie cutters and edible markers make a great lunch.

Make it Pretty for Earth Day + Kids Konserve Giveaway

22 Apr

I buy plates and cute cups like some people buy shoes! (OK, I buy shoes like that too) My husband and I do many food shoots and I am always on the hunt for new props. I can’t keep my hands off  those cute playful serving vessels, I do try to buy recyclable items as much as possible. My cupboards are busting (to my husband’s dismay) with stacked colorful plates, bowls, napkins and even the occasional coconut shell or bamboo plate.  But in real life I try to reuse as many containers as I can.  I like fun food and so do kids, they love to imagine and play and it doesn’t stop at mealtime.  If you are trying to get your kids to eat healthier, it can be a frustrating challenge. Starting with snacks can ease the pain, get them eating better in small doses. Once the snacks are more wholesome then you can work on mealtime. Kids are much more likely to be interested in a fun presentation of a food even if they may not have been a fan of it in the past.  Any change for kids can be tough but making it fun can make a world of difference. You can get your kids to make a world of difference by re using containers you already have. Reusing containers in a great way to stay conscious about how much trash we are tossing. Ditch the paper plates and cups and please do away with plastic forks and spoons. If you need some good ideas for no waste lunches click here
I have a great giveaway, this super reusable lunch bag and containers from Kids Konserve!! Read below to find out how to enter.

  • ·      Take everyday foods and cut them in new ways. Instead of giving a granola bar in the wrapper, unwrap it and cut it lengthwise for something different.
  • ·      Serve salad in a cup, stand up the baby Romaine leaves and cut everything in sticks
  • ·      Slice quiche in small triangles and insert fun playful toothpicks for eating. 
  • ·      Use an ice cream scoop for rice, or even veggie lasagna!  

Make it different, change it up and think out of the box. Snack time is a fun time to try new food ideas, it fast and uncomplicated. Moving to healthier foods at snack time can be tough, so put the emphasis on adding new foods not on taking away foods. Start with fruit to replace sugary bars and nuts to replace chips.  Keep the crunch, kids love crunch it is very satisfying.  Try fun snacks you may have not noticed in the store before, check the natural section.  Have fun and look around the house for new ways to serve up snacks to your kids.

See what you have in your cabinet to serve in and see what kind of healthy snacks can go in to them in fun exciting ways. Have your kids help find containers to hold the snacks.


   Clean votive candle holders
   Shot glasses
   Mason jars
   Use clean-take out containers
   Wrap snacks in parchment paper  and tie with a bow
   Cut a circle from a paper bag and make a cone shape for holding snacks
   Make a boat shape from aluminum foil
   Small Tupperware containers, are good for serving
   Large deep lids are good to serve in too
   Use doilies left over from Valentine’s Day
   Cut wrapping paper in to squares for a makeshift place mat
Our winner is The Family Chef!

To win the Kids Konserve Lunch bag:
Tell me what creative ideas you have come up with for your children’s lunches or what you thought of while reading this post?

Follow my blog or or join me on  The Toddler Cafe Facebook page but leave a comment here telling me you did!  
I will do a drawing on Saturday April 30th at 12:00 PM using you will receive your gift within three weeks.
Please make sure your profile is public or leave your email address in your comment or I won’t be able to find you!!

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