Gluten-free Apple Spice Cake with Creamy Butterscotch Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

October 30th, 2014

If you’re looking for a delicious, but easy, made-from-scratch cake that combines all the yummy flavors of the Fall you have to try this Apple Spice Cake that is topped with a creamy Butterscotch Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting.

The cake is easy enough, since it is made with an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend and applesauce, rather than fresh apples. No need for numerous measurings, peeling, coring and parings.

And the frosting… oh good lord… the yummy frosting. The creamy tartness of the cream cheese, is blended ever so delicately with the sweet Butterscotch Caramel to create a sweet and tangy frosting that is worthy of eating on its own. I made this cake in a tube pan, and was left with an abundance of frosting left over to enjoy by the spoonful (or you can make it in a sheet pan for a more traditional cake.) Any way you bake it or slice it, the result will be true yumminess.

For extra Halloween fun, top the cake with a handful of gluten-free caramel corn. Your goblins will gobble it right up!

Apple Spice Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease the pan and set aside (This cake can be made in a 9” tube pan or sheet pan )

Ingredients:

1 cup of granulated sugar (sifted)

½ cup (one stick) of butter (softened)

1 egg

1¾ cups of all-purpose gluten-free flour blend – sifted, with about 1/8 of a cup set aside

1 cup of golden raisins (or brown raisins if that is what you have on hand)

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup of slightly sweetened apple sauce

¾ cup of walnuts (Slightly crushed. Note:  Easily crush the walnuts by putting them in a ziplock bag and press gently with the back of a serving spoon)

Directions:

In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Slowly add in the sugar and continue to blend until light and fluffy. Next beat in the egg until blended.

In a small bowl, place the raisins and dust with the 1/8 cup of the gluten-free flour blend. Toss to coat. Set aside.

Add the baking soda, salt, cinnamon and clove to the remainder of the gluten-free baking mix. Slowly add to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and beat until well blended. Place the applesauce into a microwave safe bowl and heat about 1 minute in the microwave. Add the apple sauce to the batter, and beat again until just blended.

Next, add the flour-dusted raisins and the nuts into the batter and beat, on low speed, until blended.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes. Watch cake carefully. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

When cool, remove cake from pan and frost with Creamy Butterscotch Caramel Cream Frosting. Top with a drizzle of Butterscotch Caramel Sauce and a sprinkle of Caramel Corn, if desired.

Creamy Butterscotch Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes enough frosting for a 2-layer cake.

Ingredients:

8-ounces of Cream Cheese or Neuchatel Cheese – softened

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) or butter – softened

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup of Butterscotch Caramel Sauce /Topping, plus extra for drizzling over the top of the cake once frosted (I used Mrs. Richardson’s which is gluten-free!)

1-pound box of Confectioners’ Sugar (sifted)

Directions:

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla and the Butterscotch Caramel sauce continue to beat until well blended. Next slowly add the sifted Confectioners’ Sugar to the mixture and blend, on low speed, until mixed. After all the sugar is blended, put blender on high speed and blend for another 3 minutes.

Friday Favorite: Mediterranean Snacks Hummuz Crackers

October 30th, 2014

Thin, crispy, crunchy and perfect for snacking. Mediterranean Snacks Hummuz Crackers are a shoo-in for this week’s Friday Favorite on BeFreeForMe.com since they are an all-around perfect crispy snack.

These wafer thin crackers are perfect for dipping into your favorite hummus, dip or spread. Made with chickpeas flour these chips are a good source of protein that are oven-baked to crispy perfection. They are also non-GMO.

The flavors are tasty too: Roasted Garlic, Roasted Red Pepper, and my favorite, Olive Tapenade.

Congratulations to Mediterrean Snacks for being named this week’s Friday Favorite on BeFreeForMe.com! Grab yourself a handful and enjoy the crunch!

Friday Favorite:Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Apple Blueberry Granola

October 23rd, 2014

Bob’s Red Mill Apple Blueberry Granola is a quick and easy breakfast that is loved by all.

Packed with whole grain gluten-free oats, it is a perfect way to start your day and fill your belly. I love to sprinkle some on top of my favorite yogurt or cultured coconut milk, or even enjoyed traditionally by being poured in a bowl and enjoyed topped with milk and fresh cut fruit.

Another bonus is that this crunchy cereal is easy to find, since it is carried by most major grocery stores.

All of these reasons are why this week’s Friday Favorite is awarded to Bob’s Red Mill’s Whole Grain Apple Blueberry Granola – Congratulations!

Win-It-Wednesday: Nouri Bars

October 21st, 2014

I love when the food I eat is good for me. But as an added bonus, it’s also awesome when the food I eat also does good for others.

An example of this? Nouri Bars.

The Nouri brand really raises the bar when it comes to makes healthy, gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO bars… For every bar sold a child in need is fed a hot meal. So this bar is not just wholesomely delicious, but a “socially conscience” snack. Curious to find out more & see how this all works? Make sure you check out this link on their website and find out how buying Nouri Bars can save lives.

And if doing good isn’t enough, these 100% real fruit and nut bars also taste good too. Nouri Bars come in three delicious flavors: Apple Cinnamon Spice (ingredients: organic dates, hemp protein, organic agave nectar, apples, organic cashews, cinnamon, organic vanilla extract); Chocolate & Creamy Cashew (ingredients: organic dates, hemp protein, organic cashews, organic cashew butter, organic agave nectar, dark chocolate chips, organic vanilla powder) and Peanut Butter & Wild Cherry (ingredients: organic dates, organic peanut butter, cherries, peanuts, organic pumpkin seeds, hemp protein, organic vanilla extract, sea salt).

These bars also are made only with organic ingredients and have no preservatives or flavorings.

In a nutshell, these fruity and nutty bars are super-delicious, good for you and good for others. What’s not to love?

All of these reasons are why I am nuts over Nouri Bars as being this week’s Win-It-Wednesday on BeFreeForMe.com. Two lucky winners will each win a prize pack of Nouri Bars! Yay for us!

One (1) winner will be randomly selected from the entries received before Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST, and one (1) more winner will be randomly selected to win from the entries received between Wednesday, October 29 and Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 11:59PM EST. So – make sure you enter to win two times! (And please… only two times!)

How can you win?
Easy!

Reply to this blog and tell us what Nouri Bar flavor looks the best to you (Me? Apple Cinnamon Spice) OR tell us a way you “do good” for yourself or for others (Me? Here are two things. For myself: I always have breakfast; and for others: Once the holidays come I vow that when I see a Salvation Army Bell Ringer I’ll contribute all the change in the wallet.)

Good luck, always keep things simple and good… and of course, yummy! And, as always,
Be Free!

Make sure you follow Nouri Bars on Facebook , Twitter & Pinterest!

Friday Favorite: Ian’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Buttons… Allergen-Free!

October 16th, 2014

If you’re looking for a little tiny snack with a big punch reach for a bag of Ian’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Buttons.

These tiny chocolate-packed cookies are perfect for the kiddo’s little fingers or for the big kid’s afternoon snacks.

I also love that you can pop a few of these crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookie Buttons into your mouth and have a tiny bite-sized cookie to satisfy any sweet tooth, without the super-sized calories!

These cookies are also allergy friendly and are now certified peanut free. Each box contains six (6) convenient 1-ounce individual portions which make them perfect for lunch boxes, to sneak into your purse, or for after school snackswhile you’re on the go.

All of these allergen-friendly and tasty reasons are why these Ian’s cute-as-a-button cookies are being awarded this week’s Friday Favorite on BeFreeForMe.com. Congratulations!

Local Dairy – Good for our environment, health and economy

October 15th, 2014

It’s that time of year when the weather is perfect here in Boston. The air’s crisp, the sun’s warmth is worthy of extended smiles towards the sky and the colorful leaves provide the backdrop of color reminiscent of a photo in any old-time New Englander’s October calendar page.

But it comes as no surprise that sometimes in the hustle and bustle of daily life I often don’t stop, take the time for that deep breath of refreshing air, close my eyes, look-up and give an all-out ear-to-ear smile.

But this past week I was given that chance. I was able to break-out of my stuffy office and experience firsthand how a small local dairy farm, Hornstra Dairy Farm in Norwell, Massachusetts, contributes to New England’s economy, health, environment and community. Thanks to the New England Dairy Promotion Board, myself and several other Boston area bloggers & foodies (Kara from The Foodie Dietician; Julia from Juggling with Julia; Liz from Meal Makeover Moms; Jen from Edible Boston; Julia from The Department of Agriculture for the State of Massachusetts) were invited to tour Hornstra Dairy Farm, named Massachusetts 2013 Dairy Farm of the Year. Not only was it a welcoming break from the 9-to-5 in the office, but it was an inspirational and enlightening way to learn first-hand about local dairy farming, and most importantly why local dairy farming is an integral part of our lives.

The tour was guided by John Hornstra, proprietor of this farm that has been a family-owned and operated business for four generations. John walked us through the start (milking) to the finish of the dairy production at his farm. (Our end of the tour treat? An impromptu morning ice cream party… *cough* *cough* … a little ice cream in the morning never hurt anyone, right?)

Although I learned that each cow is named (Yes, I met a few new friends named Meredith, Kathy, and J. Low) and milked, loved and treated humanely 365 days a year and the farms milk processing, pasteurization process and final products are top-notch (the Vat Pasteurization method is used during the processing of their milk), the biggest impression that John had on me during the tour was the Hornstra Dairy Farm’s legacy to commitment, quality and the love of New England’s families, environment and economy.

And although I don’t consider myself a city-slicker, after my visit to Hornstra Dairy Farm I now truly appreciate local dairy farmers, the beauty of their open spaces, the local culture, and everything that my beloved New England dairy farmers offers to make my family’s lives, health and well-being, well … just a better place to live. And that’s another reason for us all to give an all-out ear-to-ear smile.






Looking for some delicious gluten-free recipes using fresh dairy products? Check out these recipes from myself and fellow bloggers:

Tomato Salsa with Sharp Cheddar & Black Olive Crostini from BeFreeForMe.com

Pear & Maple Yogurt Cups from Must Be The Milk

Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Apple Dip from Kara at the Foodie Dietician

Peach Berry Milkshakes from Julia at Juggling with Julia

Sunday Morning Frittata from Edible Boston

Autumn Apple Quinoa Salad from Liz at Meal Makeover Moms

Friday Favorite: Gorton’s Seafood Gluten-Free Grilled Haddock

October 9th, 2014

My, oh my! Helloooo Gorton’s Fisherman!  I was pleasantly surprised when I was strolling through the frozen food section of my local Target store and found Gorton Seafood’s Gluten-Free Grilled Haddock. The fisherman on the front of the box brought back flash-backs of dinner time when I was a kid, when my Mom would make me and my sisters fish sticks for supper. So, for nostalgias sake, I just had to give these gluten-free counterparts a try.

If you’re looking for a quick (cooks for only 14-16 minutes in your 350 degree oven) and tasty dinner these gluten-free fish fillets are perfect.

These fish fillets have only 80 calories per servings  (though I do admit… I ate two servings with my dinner.) They also have no MSG, artificial colors or flavors, and are made with 100% wild-caught haddock.

I tried the Signature Grilled, but there are also a ton more gluten-free flavors that Gorton’s makes. I’ll be trying these out these other flavors at a later date, and I also look forward to making myself a nice grilled fish sandwich on gluten-free bread with these!

For being a quick, easy, tasty and simple dinner idea, Gorton’s Seafood’s Gluten-Free Grilled Haddock is awarded this week’s Friday Favorite on BeFreeForMe.com. Congratulations!

Win-It-Wednesday: “100 Best Quick Gluten-Free Recipes” By Carol Fenster

October 7th, 2014

Sometimes eating gluten-free gets me into a rut. It seems like I always rely on my one or two “go-to” recipes when I need a quick and easy meal, snack, dessert or dish to bring to a party. Borrrinnng!

And sometimes when I find gluten-free recipes that look delicious, they are often full of numerous hard to find items and designed for those that have the luxury of spending hours in their kitchen. Not realistic for a working gal like myself.

So… if you’re like me… a no-nonsense, give me a yummy recipe that’s quick and easy to make type-of-gal… you will LOVE Carol Fenster’s newest cookbook, “100 Best Quick Gluten-Free Recipes”.

If you’re not familiar with Carol Fenster, let me start by introducing her as one of my all-time favorite gluten-free chefs and cookbook authors. She is the author of eleven (YES! ELEVEN!!) gluten-free cookbooks including Gluten-Free 101, and the award-winning 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes. When it comes to gluten-free baking and cooking, Carol’s cookbooks are the best out there.

The “100 Best Quick Gluten-Free Recipes” cookbook is divided into five sections: Breakfast & Breads; Soups, Salads, Sandwiches &Snacks; Grains, Beans, and Pasta; Main Dishes; and Desserts. The cookbook starts by outlining how to stock a gluten-free kitchen (this was a nice refresher even for a seasoned-celiac like myself!) along with ideas for combining the recipes in the cookbook for occasions or themes – such as brunches, luncheons, an Italian feast, or Asian, Southwestern or All-American suppers. I also love that there are plenty of slow-cooker and one-pot recipes – always time-savers in my kitchen.

And the best of all? ALL recipes can be made prepared in 30 minutes or less!

Some of my favorite recipes in Carol’s new cookbook are: Chicken Enchiladas; Focaccia Flatbread;  Microwave Muffin in a Mug;  White Chocolate, Apricot, and Almond Balls; and the Chocolate Refrigerator Cookies.

All these quick, easy and delicious reasons are why I am so excited that the sponsor of this Win-It-Wednesday is Carol Fenster and her new cookbook “100 Best Quick Gluten-Free Recipes”!

Two lucky winners will each win a copy of this new cookbook. One (1) winner will be randomly selected from the entries received before Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST, and one (1) more winner will be randomly selected to win from the entries received between Wednesday, October 15 and Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 11:59PM EST. So – make sure you enter to win two times!

How can you win?
Easy!

Reply to this blog and tell us a gluten-free tip or trick that makes your life more simple (or… if you are new to the gluten-free lifestyle, ask a question on simplifying your life!)

Good luck, always keep things simple, quick and easy… and of course, yummy! And, as always,
Be Free!

Want to buy this cookbook now? Find it here on Amazon.com.  Also, make sure you follow Carol Fenster on Facebook and Twitter!

Friday Favorite: Crystal Farms Simply Potatoes

October 2nd, 2014

We all know the drill. First thing in the morning you have high hopes of getting out of work on time, not hitting any traffic on your commute, and getting home in plenty of time to make a delicious home cooked dinner for your family.

But then reality strikes. We end up working late, sitting in a traffic jam and finally getting home to a hungry gang asking, “What’s for dinner?”

These are the nights that I count on Crystal Farms Simply Potatoes. These mashed potatoes are so quick and easy to make (less than 5 minutes in the microwave!) and taste just like homemade mashed potatoes (trust me… and I am picky when it comes to my mashed potatoes!).

My favorite variety is the Traditional Mashed Potatoes, but they also come in tons of other gluten-free varieties such as Country Style, Garlic Mashed, Sour Cream & Chive, and even a Mashed Sweet Potato.

For convenience, partnered with great homemade taste, this week’s Friday Favorite is awarded to Crystal Farms Simply Potatoes. Congratulations!

Friday Favorite: Trader Joe’s Apple & Mango Fruit Bars

September 25th, 2014

I like things simple… pure… natural… and no fuss. That is why I was thrilled to find the new Fruit Bars at my local Trader Joe’s.

Made with just fruit (my favorite the Apple & Mango has just that as ingredients… JUST apples and mangoes) these bars are not only gluten-free, but vegan and raw. They also have no additives, no preservatives, no synthetic colors or artificial flavors.

The other yummy flavors they come in are: Apple & Banana, Apple & Coconut, and Apple & Strawberry.

Best yet… they are only .99 cents per bar!

It’s kinda hard to lug around apples and mangoes in my teeny-tiny purse, so these Fruit Bars do the trick and let me have my fruits – and purse space too! Packed with 2-3 grams of fiber and only 90 calories per bar these are the perfect choice for BeFreeForMe’s Friday Favorite! Congratulations!


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