vanilla cupcakes with buttercream icing

We have been working really hard around here during the last three months isolation, renovations, gardening, landscaping... and we deserved a treat! so I made coconut milk ice cream last night and these delicious cupcakes this afternoon.
Easy and delicious, and with the butter cream icing, they are the best I've made.

Vanilla cupcakes

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup GF Flour mix
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup milk (or alternative)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F and place liners in 12 medium cupcake pan.
In a large bowl, beat the sugar with coconut oil until well incorporated. Add eggs. Beat another minute. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum, and add to the bowl. Add the milk and vanilla. Mix for another minute.
Divide the batter between the 12 cupcake liners. Bake 20 minutes at 350F until lightly browned and centre springs back when touched.
Cool 5 minutes, remove cupcakes from pan and cool on a rack before icing.

Buttercream Icing

2 1/2 cup GF icing sugar (Typically Canadian icing sugar is GF)
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 to 2 Tbsp milk (or alternative)

Mix icing sugar with butter on low speed. Add vanilla & 1 Tbsp milk. Gradually add enough of the milk to make it smooth and spreadable. Add more milk if too thick, more icing sugar if too thin.
I piped the icing sugar onto the muffins for a nicer finish.

Spaghetti Squash Soup

The past few years we have been growing a very prolific spaghetti squash that are perfect size for small families, the Small Wonder from West Coast Seeds. About half the size of regular spaghetti squash, the big ones get to as big as 4 lbs, but most are between 2-3 pound. We planted six seeds last spring and ended up with 50 squash!
Our neighbours and friends have been helping us go through this bounty, but by March or April our spaghetti squash in the cold room start to fail. We are now working to freeze the 25 squash remaining. I have made biscuits, cake and soup from these and the rest have been baked, chilled, scraped, drained and frozen in one meal bags, or blended and frozen in muffin tins.
This is the fabulous soup I made for lunch yesterday.

1 small spaghetti squash, cut and split lengthwise, seeds removed
1 pound home made sausage meat
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms (I used chantrelles we fried and froze last fall)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 cup sun-dried (or oven dried) tomatoes, chopped
2 carrots, grated
2 quarts stock: poultry or veggie is good
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon Thai pepper flakes, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Bake the squash halves face down in a glass pan with about 1/2 inch of water for 35 minutes at 375F. Cool and shred with a fork.
Cook the sausage meat until browned in your favourite soup pot. Add onions, mushrooms, garlic and cook until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients including the cooked squash and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
Serve with a biscuit! so delicious!

gluten-free golden squash biscuits

We LOVE our biscuits, and with the addition of squash, these are more moist and fluffy than most!
Always in high demand, these are extra-special-delicious with pureed spaghetti squash instead of the usual pumpkin.

1-3/4 cups gluten-free flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter
3/4 cup pureed squash
1/3 cup milk substitute with 1/2 tsp cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Lay a piece of parchment paper or silicon sheet on a cookie sheet.
Mix the milk substitute with cider vinegar in a cup. Set aside.
Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until it resembles course crumbs. Combine the pureed squash with milk mixture. Add to the large bowl and stir only until combined.
Knead the dough on a floured work surface until it sticks together, about 10 times or so.
Flatten with your hands to about 3/4 to 1" thick and cut out little 2" biscuits. Place on the prepared cookie sheet and place in the middle of a preheated oven for about 18 - 20 minutes.
Serve hot. Also delicious toasted the next day (if you have any leftovers!)

Gluten-free Carrot Muffins

Adjusted for the low histamine diet, Will has to avoid the usual cinnamon & nutmeg in his carrot cakes and muffins.

2 c GF flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ginger
3/4 c white sugar
1/2 c golden brown sugar
1/2 c mayonaise
4 eggs
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 c milk substitute
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups peeled and grated carrots

Preheat oven to 350 and prep 15 muffin cups
mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
Mix the sugar with mayo, eggs, vinegar, vanilla & milk. Stir in carrots. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix only until combined.
Pour into the muffin cups and let sit about 10 minutes. (Secret trick for gluten-free baking.) After 10 minutes, place muffin tins in middle of preheated oven.
Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Test. Remove from oven when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, and cool before icing. I like cream cheese icing, but the first few just had butter melted on them! So good! 

Will's Cornbread

the trick is preheating the buttered cast-iron frying pan

2 cups cornmeal
1 cup gluten-free flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
t tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (Make with milk or substitute: premix 1 1/2 cups milk substitute with 1 Tbsp cider vinegar and let sit a few minutes)
1/2 cup butter, melted in the cast-iron frying pan

Do not turn the oven on yet.
Mix the milk substitute with cider vinegar and let sit. Melt the butter over low heat.
Mix the dry ingredients in medium bowl. Beat eggs with the milk & vinegar, then add the butter. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well. Set it aside, just while the oven heats. the GF flours will benefit from a bit of a soak.
Preheat the oven to 375F with oiled cast iron pan set in the middle to heat it up.
When the pan & oven are hot, carefully pour the batter into the pan and place in the middle rack. Bake 40 minutes until browning a little and cooked in the middle.
Serve with butter & maple syrup.

Country Pork Ribs

I had a small crisis when my pressure cooker finally failed after years and years of service. Luckily my friends had been exclaiming about how the new "Instant Pot" is a fabulous replacement for the traditional pressure cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker and slow cooker (and likely six other small appliances)
The six quart Instant Pot Viva was on sale at Canadian Tire so we picked one up and have been experimenting with great success. Way easier and far less hassle than a pressure cooker on a burner.
This recipe has been created especially to work for a low FODMaP diet, and a low histamine diet, both of which we are dealing with on a daily basis in our house.
I served this to some of our closest friends tonight and they insisted I share the recipe. Would have taken a picture of the gorgeous rib dish but there wasn't a drop left..... so I took a photo of them eating butterscotch brownies and playing music instead.

1 rack pork country style ribs **
1 tsp salt
1 tsp galangal power and/or lemon grass powder
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh ginger cut in thin strips
1 cup water

Cut the ribs into 2" cubes and sprinkle with salt and galangal and/or lemon grass powder. Chill. Preheat the oven to 350F with an oven-proof dish hot & ready for the pieces of browned pork. Preheat olive oil in the Instant Pot on "saute". When hot, start browning a few pieces of the pork at a time in the oil. Don't try to cook too many at once as it will just steam, not brown. As you brown the pork pieces, place them in the pre-heated oven. Once all the meat has been nicely browned, (and is in the hot oven,) turn off the Instant Pot and carefully pour off the fat.
Pour the brown sugar, vinegar, ginger and water into the pot. Heat on "saute" until bubbly. Switch off.
Place the pork pieces back into the Instant Pot, put the lid on and turn the valve to "sealing". Turn on "Pressure Cook" for 35 minutes.
When done, switch off and let the pot sit for 10 minutes, while you preheat the broiler and prepare a pan.
Then release the pressure by switching the valve to "venting". Carefully place the pieces of pork on a broiling pan and place under the preheated broiler. Watch carefully to make sure you don't burn them! Meanwhile heat the sauce left in the Instant Pot until reduced by about 1/2.
On a nice serving dish, place the pieces of pork. Pour some of the sauce over and serve the rest of the sauce in a gravy boat.
Optional: top with sliced green onion. Serve with steamed rice and carrots.

 ** It is important to prevent histamines from forming as you are preparing the meal. So, be sure to keep the meat as cold as possible before putting it into the hot pan, and don't cook over low heat. You need to heat the meat as quickly as you can. Once the meat dish is cooked, serve immediately, and chill leftovers as soon as you have served the dinner.

moist and sweet zucchini cake with streusel topping

It's that time of year when the zucchinis suddenly spring up from "I'll pick it tomorrow", to "where did that come from" overnight.
That's what's happening in my garden!
This recipe will take care of one good sized (about 9" zucchini) shredded and drained. I make all my food gluten-free, but if you use wheat flour, you shouldn't add the xanthan gum.
Delicious and moist, this cake is the best zucchini cake I've ever tried. 
1. Preheat oven to 350F & line the cake pan with parchment paper,
2. weigh out butter + coconut oil and warm gently,
3. grate the zucchini and let it drain in a sieve.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and add the melted oils and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Squeeze the water out of the drained grated zucchini and mix well into the batter. Pour into prepared cake pan.
Mix Streusel ingredients with a pastry knife until butter is incorporated.
sprinkle Streusel topping over cake until even and place in 350F oven for 50 minutes.

2 1/2 cups Gluten free flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

4 eggs
1/2 cup gently melted butter
1/2 cup gently melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini, drained and the moisture squeezed out before measuring

Streusel topping:
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup quick oats
3/4 cup golden brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup gluten-free flour
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9x13" pan with parchment paper.
Grate zucchini and set in a sieve to drain. Over very low heat melt the butter and coconut oil.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until fluffy, add the oils and vanilla and beat another couple minutes. Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Squeeze the moisture out of the grated zucchini and add. Stir well.
Spoon into the prepared cake pan.
Mix the streusel topping in a medium bowl with a pastry knife or your fingers until crumbly and the butter is well incorporated. Sprinkle evenly over the cake.
Bake at 350F for 50 - 55 minutes or until a tester inserted near the middle comes out clean.