Gluten Free Johnsonville Sausage Balls with Spinach

Gluten Free Johnsonville Sausage Balls with Spinach | Country Girl Gourmet

If you have read my blog for any amount of time you will discover one of my favorite brands to work with as an Allrecipes Allstar Ambassador is Johnsonville Sausage. Johnsonville is AWESOME and i’m not just saying that because … Continue reading 

Crazy Cake

A long time ago, because hard to believe it has been over 20 years I was in middle school and taking home ec class. I really liked my home ec class for the most part. I didn’t really like sewing. The sewing machine and I battled, a lot. I was constantly breaking needles. I couldn’t wait to be done with that segment of the class. When we were done sewing that meant we were moving onto cooking. We started with salads and my group was in charge of cauliflower then moved onto better things like cookies and cake. My group was dysfunctional. Another girl and I were constantly fighting over how to do things. I lost the battle of chocolate chip cookies to her but our crazy cake was perfect. It’s so perfect that just over 20 years later it is still my go to chocolate cake recipe and since it is my birthday I figured I would share it with you!

Crazy cake is a easy to make delicious chocolate cake.  The crazy part comes to the ingredients. This cake does not have any eggs or  dairy ingredients in it. Yes, it is a cake made without butter or milk. It is a vegan cake that tastes really good. Being that it is made without eggs and dairy it is great for those with food allergies. Plus this cake can be made with gluten free flour and it still turns out beautifully.  The history of the cake goes back to the depression when certain ingredients were hard to come by.  With a bit of creativity and baking science they created one darn good cake that I hope you fall in love with like I have.

Crazy Cake | Country Girl Gourmet

 

Crazy Cake

for a 13×9 version of this recipe check out Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour (or Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend if making Gluten Free)
  • 4TB Cocoa Powder
  • 1tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 5TB Oil (Vegetable, Canola, etc.)
  • 1tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1TB Vinegar
  • 1 cup Water

*** if making Gluten Free add 1 tsp Xantham Gum***

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease 8×8 square pan.
  3. Please note this cake can be mixed in the baking pan or in a bowl and then transferred to your baking dish. The mixing directions will remain the same. Take your dry ingredients and  mix well.
  4.  Create 3 wells in mixed dry ingredients. Add Vanilla Extract to one well, Vinegar to the next and oil in the last well.
  5. Pour water over top and stir well with a whisk or fork.
  6. If mixing in a bowl transfer to baking pan.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted
  8. Serve as is, sprinkle with confectioners sugar or frost with your favorite frosting.

We like to use Allrecipes Chocolate Cookie Buttercream Frosting 

This cake recipe  also makes wonderful cupcakes. Try it for yourself!

Crazy Cake | Country Girl Gourmet

Running with your Dog

Do you have a running partner? Let me tell you about mine. He is very handsome and a bit hairy. Oh yeah, he is my dog, well my husband’s dog, but really he is mine. Just don’t tell my husband that. I have been running or well, attempting to run with my dogs for a few years now. I say attempting because my Golden Retriever is a want to be runner. She see’s me get my running clothes on and she knows what that means. Momma is going for a run. Somedays she get’s me with those big brown puppy dog eyes but once we are out she reminds me why I rarely take her out anymore. She is 8 and barely does 2 miles. Once in a great while she will do 3 but it usually isn’t pretty.

Running with your Dog | Country Girl Gourmet

Unfortunately not all dogs are runners. Some breeds are said to be better than others. Check out THIS list from Runner’s World about various breeds. My Golden Retrievers are usually pretty obedient on the trail like the list suggests. My older dog just has never been good for distance. My dog of choice is our German Shepherd. He has trained for 2 half marathon’s with me and we are training for my 4th. He is a great running partner as well as security guard but it did not happen over night.

Here are some tips if you want to run with your dog:

1. Some people get their dog’s knowing that they want to run with them but there is something important to remember. Wait until your dog is old enough! Their bones are still developing. For most dogs that means waiting until your dog is a year old. Ask your veterinarian if you are unsure.

2. Slowly easy your dog into running. Just like you needed to train to work up to longer distance your dog needs to do the same.

3.Do not feed your dog right before you go to run. When a dog eats to close to when you go running there is a chance for bloat.

4.Vaccinate your pet and give it regular flea and heart worm treatment.

5. Training. Take the time and do some at least basic training with your dog. If your dog knows how to behave appropriately  on a leash it will result in you having a better run instead of having to stop and redirect every few minutes.

6. Use a Leash. This seems like common sense to myself but you would not believe how many people  we have come across that run with their dogs not on a leash. While you may have a normally well trained and behaved dog you do not know how it may act when it comes across another dog or person. The majority of the time the unleashed dogs we have come across do not listen to their owners. My dog is also trained and is protective of me and my family. This said he rarely barks at other people but after numerous encounters with unleashed dogs he barks at every dog we pass on a leash.  I am stuck now with deciding to try to correct the behavior and possibly undo his training or just letting him bark.  I am sure this is not something people think of when they let their dog run without a leash. My dog was doing what he was trained, to protect when an unknown animal ran at us. I don’t want to correct the barking and in the future I get bit because some other dog owner could not restrain their “well trained, sweet as can be” dog.  After our last incident with an unleashed dog and an owner not attempting to retrieve her dog after it did not listen to her. I have decided I will not try to restrain my dog anymore when he is only trying to protect me.

Running with your Dog | Country Girl Gourmet

 

Do not use leash types as an excuse. There are a variety of different collars, leashes and harnesses out there. There are some that you can even put around your waist. It may take trial and error but the perfect leash is out there for you and your dog.

7. Think of your dog’s paws. For people we put on our shoes and run but our pets do not wear shoes so consider the running surface. Especially if it is hot out your pup doesn’t need to be running on pavement. They get rid of some of their heat through their feet! Plus always check their paws/pads of their feet when you are done running for anything that could be irritating them.

8. Don’t let your dog overheat. Do your best to keep your dog cool. This could mean stopping for frequent breaks, carrying and giving your dog water. For instance I taught my dog to drink out of my fuel belt water bottle. Another good option is collapsible water dishes. Try to pick running routes with shade and especially in the summer work out in the morning or evening when it is cooler out.
It is a good idea to keep an eye on how your dog is panting. Panting is one of the ways dogs try to cool down. If your dog’s panting is a bit much try slowing down your pace or stopping and giving your dog a break. Overheating in dogs is a serious issue and can lead to head stroke and even death.

Running with your Dog | Country Girl Gourmet

9. Please be kind and clean up after your dog. Sometimes it is unavoidable, poop happens. Please clean up after your dog to the best of your ability. This includes when you are out on trials.Would you want to be running and step in a pile of dog poo? Plus as a dog owner I can say it is not nice to get the evil eye over somebody else’s dog’s poop!

10. Have fun because running with your dog is awesome! They make the perfect partners. They don’t care how fast or slow you are just that you are out there.

So what do you think? Are you going to try running with your dog?

Running with your Dog | Country Girl Gourmet

 

 

Dear Murphy…

 

 

 

I am a well seasoned military spouse but with that said there is something that no one ever told me about when it comes to military life. It is best known as Murphy’s Law of Military Spouses. This is basically when your spouse is away anything will and can happen and I mean anything. If it can break, it will break. If you or your child are going to get sick and/or injured, you will get sick and/or injured. If it can go wrong, it will go wrong. Murphy doesn’t care if your spouse is in the field for a week, TDY for a month or deployed. Murphy doesn’t discriminate. Murphy doesn’t care what your spouses rank is. Murphy just knows when your spouse is gone and invites themselves over for a vacation.
Dear Murphy... | Country Girl Gourmet

 

So now that I have explained what Murphy’s Law of Military Spouses is let me give you some examples of Murphy’s handy work. Over the last 15 years I have experienced it all. During my husband’s last deployment friends and I were going through similar problems at the same time. It was oddly coincidental when a group of us all had broken washing machines or were driving rental cars all at the same time. Dear Murphy… Why must you be so mean?

Here are probably the top ways that Murphy likes to make it’s presence known in no particular order:

1. Major Appliances and Home Issues

Murphy likes appliances. Washer’s, Dryers, Dishwashers, Ovens and more.  Air conditioning and heating systems are always a fun things that Murphy likes to break. Appliances will all of the sudden start making weird noises, blow up, leak or just all out quit working.  Pipes start leaking, and toilets have all sorts of issues. Murphy really likes to do his best to make things go awry at home. Leaving you to fix the problem (Google and Youtube are your friends) while other times you need to call a repair person or just replace the appliance.

2. Illness

Somebody will get sick especially if you have kids and because you have taught your kid’s to share, they will share their germs. If Murphy is really nice he will bring the stomach flu to your house and it will hit in the middle of the night.  They will get sick in their bed, then on the carpet on the way to the bathroom and once you think they are better and asleep in your bed. They will throw up in your bed. The next morning they will be better but you will now be sick. Be warned if Murphy really likes you he will have multiple children getting sick at the same time. Trust me it is so much fun, yes that is sarcasm.

3. Emergency Room

I have joked that when my husband is away that I needed a frequent customer card when it comes to emergency room visits. I am thankful for Tricare in this department. Somehow someone always ends up in the emergency room. Whether it is a kid getting hurt somehow,appendicitis  or something else. At one point or another somehow you will probably end up here.

4. Family Emergencies
Extended family emergencies are not out of the spectrum of things that Murphy dabbles in. From an extended family member getting severely ill to passing away. These type of emergencies are common.

5. Spiders, Bugs and Rodent’s, Oh My!

Murphy loves little critters! Especially little or not so little critters that make you want to scream. While your spouse is away you will deal with the biggest spiders you have ever seen. Fire ant’s will take over your yard and no amount of Amdro will get rid of them. You may have a pest person or use Ortho Home Defense religiously but bugs seem to keep finding their way in. Let us not forget about slithering things and little mice. Ugh, the hairs on my neck are sticking up just thinking about it.

6. Technology Problems

When your spouse goes away Murphy likes to play with all your gadgets that connect you to the world and your spouse. Your cable or satellite will go out. Your phone will decide to quit working, even if it is only a couple days old. Your hard drive will crash and your computer will give you the blue screen of death.

7. Natural Disasters

While your spouse is away the weather may get a bit crazy. There may be really bad storms that bring tornado’s, lightning strikes and floods. In the summertime there may be a hurricane. In the winter unusually cold weather and snowstorms. Sandstorm’s that bring brown out conditions. Murphy may shake things up and there will be an earthquake. Weather happens and when it happens it can bring along with it it’s own weather related problems from frozen pipes to leaking roofs.

8. Pet Emergencies

If you have pets know they are not immune from the wrath of Murphy. They will get sick or your never has an accident dog will have an accident. They may eat things that they shouldn’t, like that cute new pair of shoes, when they have never chewed up a thing in the past.

9. Car Problems

Murphy loves cars! Murphy loves messing with cars in a wide variety of ways. Murphy likes making cars break in many different ways from a flat tire to leaving you stuck with an empty tank on the side of the road even though the gas gauge said you had a quarter tank still. When Murphy doesn’t surprise you with the check engine light he may surprise you in other ways. You may find yourself in your first car accident from a simple fender bender to worse.

10. Financial and Legal Problems

Last but not least Murphy likes to monkey with financial and legal issues. There may be problems with paychecks to credit card numbers being stolen. Then again there is the part where you are emptying your wallet to pay for all the things that go wrongThen there are a whole slew of legal issues that may come up. For me I was actually being sued by an old doctor I had not seen in like 4 years due to a Tricare mistake. Odd stuff happens.

 

These things along with others just happen as soon as your spouse leaves. You can try to prevent them but that doesn’t usually help. If something is going to happen it will, that’s life. There is no telling how many times Murphy is going to bother you and interfere with your normal life. It can be annoyances all day long, something new every day of the week or a new problem every month. I have yet to decide which type of annoyance is the best and/or worse. All you can really say is Dear Murphy… You suck!  While it does suck you need to know Murphy is also helping you! When Murphy strikes you have two options, break down or put on your big girl panties and deal with it. Life happens and it continues to keep going and your problem will still be there if you break down. So while breaking down is understandable and venting is good for you, the problem will still be there and you need to deal with it. Dealing with all the problems that Murphy brings you teaches you to learn how to adapt and helps build your resilience! So, Dear Murphy… Thank you  for making me a stronger person!

 

 

Gluten Free and Vegan Pumpkin Pie Blondies

With it being all things pumpkin season I want to share with you a sweet recipe I fell in love with last year. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I made it. What is this creation? It is Vegan Pumpkin Pie Blondies from Allrecipes. The name blondies is a bit misleading for this recipe because it is much more cake like than blondie like but that said it is delicious! We have eaten it plain, drizzled with caramel, with vanilla ice cream and caramel on top. Every way we have tried it we have loved.

The problem with the recipe it is that I don’t eat gluten anymore so I had to convert the cake to a gluten free recipe if I wanted to continue enjoying it. Which is something I most definitely want to do. So I tested it out and I am so glad I did. I now have a gluten free and vegan pumpkin pie blondie recipe that my family loves!

If you love pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavored things as much as my family and I do that I am sure you will love it too! Try it for yourself!

Gluten Free and Vegan Pumpkin Pie Blondies |Country Girl Gourmet

 

Gluten Free and Vegan Pumpkin Pie Blondies

adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Xantham gum
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
  2. Sift flour, white sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and salt together in a bowl. Stir pumpkin, canola oil, and vanilla extract into flour mixture until a thick batter forms. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 minutes.
  4. Serve plain, with caramel sauce, ice cream, cream cheese frosting etc.