Before I had children, I would have been the first to say that Valentine’s Day was one of those overrated holidays, full of pressure for couples to create that “perfect” day.  As years have passed and my family has grown, I now know that Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to celebrate all the loved ones in my life…particularly my family!

What better way to show my family love than through their stomachs.  Tonight I plan on cooking with my kids and creating a fun, sweet, and family friendly dinner that everyone will enjoy.  We will be having a fondue party (with both cheese and chocolate), and ending the night with a Gluten and Dairy-Free Red Velvet Cupcakes.  The reason I chose a fondue party is because it is not only fun, but so easy to prepare, most of the ingredients you already have at home, and can be easily adapted to gluten and dairy free.

*I plan on using a Soy Cheese Fondue and serving it with: cauliflower, broccoli, apple slices, gluten-free bread chunks, and even bacon.

*Followed by Chocolate Fondue (it’s difficult to avoid the dairy in this one) served with: strawberries, bananas, marshmallows, and pretzels.

*Served with a clear beverage of your choice with frozen pomegranate seed ice cubes. Simply add a few pomegranate seeds to your ice cubes before freezing and you have an aromatic and colorful addition to your Valentine’s dinner.

*For desert we have Gluten & Dairy-Free Red Velvet Cupcakes.  I love cupcakes because they are the perfect serving size.

Cooking and eating with my family is truly the best way to say I love you this Valentine’s Day.  Each course is sure to be love at first bite!  Happy Valentine’s Day from my family to yours.  Cheers!

Gluten & Dairy-Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

    Cupcakes:
  • 1 cup gluten-free vanilla rice milk
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 ¼ cups garbanzo bean flour
  • ¾ cup potato starch
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup organic palm fruit oil shortening
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ounce red food coloring
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Frosting:
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese or cream cheese alternative (Tofutti), at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or buttery spread (Earth Balance), at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Suggested topping:
  • White chocolate shavings

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 cupcake tins with paper liners.

In a small bowl, combine the rice milk and cider vinegar. You are creating a “buttermilk”.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour, until evenly incorporated and no white spots remain. Add the salt and xanthan gum and mix well.

Use a mixer to mix the sugar and shortening. In a separate small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and red food coloring to form a paste; set aside. Add the applesauce and vanilla to the mixer and blend until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the cocoa paste and mix well.

Alternating between the two, add the dry ingredients and the wet “buttermilk” mixture to the batter, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.

Pour the white vinegar into a small cup and sprinkle the baking soda over it. Immediately pour the fixing combination into the cake batter and thoroughly combine the two mixtures.

Pour the batter between the twelve cupcake tins and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

In medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on low speed, until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and butter, until smooth.

Once cupcakes have cooled, top each cake with frosting and sprinkle shavings of white chocolate on each. Cupcakes can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

http://www.theberghoff.com/2012/02/14/family-friendly-valentines-day/