Liquified Gold Bacon Mac & Cheese- Gluten, Dairy, Egg & Soy Free

Gluten Free Mac and Cheese PhotoPina Colada Cupcakes Header

Childhood memories waft through my mind as I reminisce about the warmth, creaminess and comfort of “good old” mac & cheese.  You don’t have to be a kid to appreciate the cozy feelings a spoonful of mac & cheese can bestow upon your mouth.  With an allergy friendly diet,  you can say “YES” to that smooth, golden cheesy flavor.  When my youngest daughter was graduating from high school, I asked her what she wanted served at her graduation open house.  She didn’t hesitate with the answer:  “Your macaroni & cheese, Mom!”  Needless to say, I made enough batches of this recipe for 100 people that day.  This recipe can be made quick and easy in less than 30 minutes on the stovetop or even easier in your slow cooker.  Directions for both will follow.

Liquified Gold Bacon Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

12 to 16 oz. package uncured nitrate/nitrite free bacon

16 oz. package of spiral, penne or elbow brown rice pasta

1 Tablespoon extra light tasting olive oil (or safflower or canola oil)

1 (13.5 oz.) can of full fat coconut milk (14g of fat)

2 cups Unsweetened So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Milk

2 cups non-dairy cheddar style cheese (8 oz. package)

1 cup non-dairy mozzarella style cheese (1/2 a package or 4 oz.)

6 Tablespoons dairy/soy free margarine  (You may substitute 2 Tablespoons of reserved bacon grease for 2 Tablespoons of margarine for added flavor.)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 Tablespoon onion powder

chopped parsley (to sprinkle on top when serving)

Product Suggestions:

Brown rice pasta:  Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta (highly recommend)

Unsweetened coconut milk:  So Delicious Dairy Free Unsweetened Coconut Milk beverage

Non-dairy cheddar style cheese:  Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds

Non-dairy mozzarella style cheese:  Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds

Dairy/soy free margarine:  Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread (Soy Free Version)

Stovetop Directions:  Boil 4 quarts of water with a dash of salt in a large pot on the stovetop.  While the water is heating, cut the bacon up into 1″ pieces with either a sharp knife or a kitchen scissors.  Fry the bacon pieces in a separate frying pan until crisp.  You don’t need to dry the bacon on paper towels–just use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon into the macaroni and cheese when it’s time to do so.  Reserve 2 Tablespoons of the bacon grease (if desired).  When the water is boiling, add the brown rice pasta.  Stir occasionally and cook over medium-high heat for only 5 minutes.  Drain the pasta (do not rinse).  Return the noodles back to the large pot and add remaining ingredients (including the bacon).  Stir and cook over medium heat until the non-dairy cheeses are creamy and the noodles are not chewy- but still firm.  If you overcook the noodles, they will get too soft.

Slow Cooker Directions:  Cut up the bacon into 1″ pieces and fry the bacon pieces until crisp.  Place all of the ingredients (including the cooked bacon pieces) into your slow cooker.  Mix together thoroughly.  You don’t have to cook the pasta, you just throw the dry pasta noodles in the slow cooker with the other ingredients (I told you it was easy).  Place the slow cooker on low temp and cook for 1 and a half to 2 hours (stir once or twice) until the noodles are not chewy but still firm.  That’s it!

Cherry Amaretto Cupcake Bouquet- Gluten, Dairy, Egg & Soy Free

Gluten Free Cherry Cupcake Bouquet

This bouquet looks good enough to eat!  Oh,wait…it really IS good enough to eat!  What occasion doesn’t deserve a beautiful centerpiece of deliciousness?  Surprise someone with an edible treat for the holidays– such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day or even Christmas.  Change a ribbon or paint the flower pot a different color and you have a perfect centerpiece for a bridal shower or a wedding.  Not only is this bouquet a feast for the eyes, it also contains wonderful tasting cupcakes to enjoy.  I’ve taken one of my favorite ice cream flavors and transformed it into a flavorful cupcake.  The frosting is irresistible on its own accord, too.  It’s pretty tempting to just scoop a finger-full before you frost the cupcakes.  Go ahead!  I won’t tell anybody.

Cherry Amaretto Cupcake Bouquet- Gluten, Dairy, Egg & Soy Free

Bowl #1:  Egg Replacer.  Whisk together:

2 Tablespoons egg replacer

8 Tablespoons hot water

Bowl #2:  Non-dairy buttermilk:  Whisk together and let sit for 5 minutes:

3/4 cup So Delicious Dairy Free Unsweetened Coconut Milk

2-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Then add: 

1/3 cup maraschino cherry juice*

Bowl #3:  Dry ingredients.  Sift together:

2-1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (spoon the flour lightly into the measuring cup–DO NOT SCOOP flour out of the bag with the measuring cup or pack down flour)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Bowl #4:  Cream in stand mixer:

1/2 cup dairy/soy free margarine

1-1/2 cups white cane sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon amaretto extract (see product suggestions)

Frosting Ingredients:

1 cup dairy/soy free margarine

6 Tablespoons palm shortening

6 Tablespoons maraschino cherry juice*

2 teaspoons amaretto extract

8 cups powdered sugar

* You will need a jar of maraschino cherries for this recipe.  Use the juice out of the jar as called for in the recipe and the cherries themselves will be used as decorations in the bouquet.

Product Suggestions:

Egg Replacer:  Ener-G Egg Replacer

Unsweetened Coconut Milk:  So Delicious Dairy Free Unsweetened Coconut Milk

Gluten Free Flour Blend:  Authentic Foods Bette’s Gourmet Featherlight Rice Flour Blend (highly recommend)

Dairy/Soy Free Margarine:  Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread (Soy Free)

Amaretto Extract:  Silver Cloud Estates Amaretto Natural Flavor Blend (gluten and sugar free)– Can be found at cake/candy supply stores or online.

Palm Shortening:  Spectrum Palm Shortening

VERY IMPORTANT:  When you buy your maraschino cherries, make sure that it says “Gluten-Free” on the jar!  Sometimes they use barley as the natural flavors.  Who figured?

Cupcake Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add Bowl #1 (egg replacer) to stand mixer Bowl #4 (creamed margarine and sugar mixture).  Mix well.  Alternately add Bowl #3 (dry ingredients) and Bowl #4 (non-dairy buttermilk with cherry juice) beating on low speed until combined.  Spoon batter into baking cups about 2/3 full (should be between 22 to 24 cups).  Do not overfill.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes until springs back when touched with your finger.  Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

Frosting Directions:

In stand mixer bowl, beat margarine and palm shortening on medium speed until smooth.  Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating well.  Beat in the maraschino cherry juice and the amaretto extract.  Gradually beat the final cups of powdered sugar until it reaches piping consistency.  It will need to be on the stiffer side rather than a soft piping consistency.  If too stiff, add cherry juice a teaspoon at a time.  If too soft, add a bit more powdered sugar. Directions on how to frost the cupcakes as a rose is located below.

Cupcake Bouquet Supplies

Cupcake Bouquet Supplies:

6″ diameter terra cotta flower pot

Multi-surface acrylic paint:  Appropriate for terra cotta surface–whatever colors you desire

Artist paint brush

6″ Styrofoam ball

Package of bamboo skewers

Wilton #1M large open star tip and piping bag

Decorations:

Ribbon for decoration around flower pot

Green tissue paper to simulate leaves

To Start:  Paint your flower pot in any creative way you desire.  The above pictured flower pot was dry brushed with 3 colors:  red, pink and white.  Let your paint dry completely.

Place the Styrofoam ball in the pot.  If it fits snuggly, you’re good.  If it’s kind of loose, put scraps of Styrofoam in the bottom of the pot with some wooden skewers to attach the ball.

How to Pipe a Rose

Rose Frosting Directions:

To pipe your rose:  Start in the middle of the cupcake with your pastry bag straight up (not at an angle).  From the middle, spiral out and continue going around until you reach the edge of the baking cup.  Don’t pipe over the edge or your rose may spread too much.  Spiraling “out” and not “up” is the way to make the frosting look like a rose.  Once you’ve finished piping your frosting roses, place the cupcakes in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour to firm up the roses.  Now you’re ready to put the bouquet together.

Cupcake Bouquet Instruction Photo

Putting it all together:  Tie your ribbon around the flower pot.  You may need to use a hot glue gun to glue the ribbon in place so that it doesn’t slide down.  To place the cupcakes on the ball, cut the bamboo skewers to about 3″ long.  Use 2 skewers per cupcake so that the cupcake is placed firmly and doesn’t twist around.  Start with the bottom row.  Do one cupcake at a time.  Place 2 skewers, with the pointed side out, in the Styrofoam ball until about an inch is sticking out at a 45 degree angle upwards (so the cupcake doesn’t slide off) and gently push the cupcake onto the skewers.  You’ll be able to fit 10 cupcakes on the bottom row.  Be careful not to mess up your beautiful job of frosting as you push the cupcakes on the ball.  After you’ve filled the ball with cupcakes, cut 4″x4″ squares of tissue paper and carefully fill in empty spaces to look like leaves and cover up areas where the Styrofoam ball can be seen.  Then take your jar of maraschino cherries and dry some of the cherries on a paper towel.  Place 3″ bamboo skewers in between cupcakes into the ball and press a cherry on each one.  Use your creativity on how many cherries you’d like to use on the bouquet.  Refrigerate until ready to display and eat.  Enjoy your beautiful creation!

Good Enough to Eat