Gluten Free Apple Pie (Recipe and Video)

Gluten Free Baking cookbook by Michael McCamley.
Gluten Free Baking cookbook by Michael McCamley.
Inspiration Photo.
Inspiration Photo.

Ready for Thanksgiving!

My apple pies are done and one of them is gluten free, so I’m re-posting the recipe and how-to video.

Unlike regular dough which comes together in a food processor, Michael McCamley’s recipe for gluten free dough in Gluten Free Baking is worked by hand. The dough is sticky and a bit messy, but the end result is delicious. I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour for the pie, and have used rice flour for gluten free cookies and gluten free pancakes.

Guess what I did? I labeled the pie using my ceramics letters. Fun!

Happy Thanksgiving, Hon!

Gluten free apple pie before being baked and after!

Gluten Free Pastry Dough

Ingredients:

  • 3 2/3 cups gluten free flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup) plus extra for greasing (I used Crisco vegetable shortening.)
  • 1 egg, plus extra for glazing
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)

Directions:

  1. To make pastry dough, combine the flour, xanthan gum, and confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. Rub in butter (or vegetable shortening) with your fingertips until mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the egg and milk (or almond milk) and combine to make dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  2. After dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. On a gluten free-floured surface, divide dough in two. Roll each piece out to form a large circle*–one to line pie plate and one to become top of pie.
  4. Line pie plate with one of the pasty circles and spoon in the apple filling. (See Apple Pie filling below.)
  5. Mix together a little milk (or almond milk) and egg and brush rim of pastry with this. Add second pastry circle as a lid and, using a fork, crimp edges of dough all the way around. Pierce pie in the middle a couple of times to let out steam during baking. If you make a basket weave top, no need to pierce dough.
  6. Brush top of the pie with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden.

Serves 8

Apple Pie Filling

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups apple slices (I use a combination of Granny Smith and other varieties)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I cut the sugar to about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • approximately 1 Tablespoon gluten free flour
  • dash salt
  • 1 egg, beaten (used to brush on top of crust before baking)

Directions:

  1. Combine apples, sugar, lemon juice, spices and salt.  This mixture will give off a lot of liquid so use a slotted spoon when spooning into pie crust, allowing you to spoon the apple mixture without the excess liquid.

Tips:

*I rolled out the dough by a)pressing dough ball down to flatten it, b)sandwiching dough between two pieces of wax paper, then c)rolling the rolling pin on top of the wax paper.  (Demo can be seen in the video.) If the dough sticks to the wax paper, you can spray the wax paper with non-stick spray.

**You can make this pie ahead and freeze it.  Let pie cool completely before wrapping in saran wrap and aluminum foil.  A couple of days before serving, defrost at room temperature.

Serving options:

Serve warm–after removing from oven, let cool about 20 minutes.

Serve room temperature–cool completely.

Rewarm defrosted pie– warm in a preheated 250- 275 degrees F oven, uncovered, until desired temperature.

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Autumn Kids Crafts: DIY Fall Wreath

Inspiration Wreath
Inspiration wreath at Michael’s.

Guess what hon? Twinkl, an online educational resource for teachers and individuals, reached out and asked to include one of my DIY Kids Crafts on their site! “This children’s craft idea features in Twinkl’s Absolutely Amazing Autumn Ideas.”

This Autumn Kids Craft:  DIY Fall Wreath is evergreen, so I’m re-posting this kids activity from the time I taught “Creative Minds,” an After School Enrichment class at Wyoming Elementary School in Millburn, NJ. The 3rd to 5th graders wrapped burlap around wreath forms, hot glued ends, chose leaves, berries, and fruit, and secured them with coiled wire. They tied ribbon as flourishes and added twine for hanging. Fun!

Here’s what you need and how to make your own.

wreath supplies
Wreath supplies

DIY Fall Wreath Supplies

  • Wreath Form, whatever size you want
  • Burlap, amount depends on size of wreath form
  • Coiled Wire, used to secure floral spray before gluing
  • Wire Cutters, we used two sizes, one to trim floral sprays and one to trim coiled wire
  • Hot Glue Gun and extra glue sticks for glue gun
  • Floral Decorations, such as floral sprays (leaves with berries and fruit), colored beads and leaves
  • Ribbon
  • Twine, knotted and looped for hanging
  • Scissors

Directions:

  1. Before cutting burlap from roll, loosely wrap around wreath form to check how much is needed. Allow extra to tuck end under. Cut burlap from roll.
  2. Wrap burlap around wreath form. Tuck end under and hot glue. This will be the back of the wreath.
  3. Decide how to arrange decorations. Some may have bendable stems. If so ,wrap around wreath form.
  4. If floral sprays, berries or other decor have long, unbendable stems, cut off with large wire cutter.
  5. Using coiled wire, secure smaller decor such as leaves and berries to wreath form. Secure to wreath form by criss-crossing wire until decor is secured. Twist wire in back and tuck ends under.
  6. Secure floral spray with wire and hot glue. Hot glue leaves so they cover wire and lay flat.
  7. Hot glue colored beads and individual leaves.
  8. Tie ribbon and glue if needed.
  9. Find top of the wreath. Create a hanging loop with twine.
Coiled wire wrapped around stem in a criss-cross fashion.
Coiled wire wrapped around stem in a criss-cross fashion.
Hot glueing, watch your fingers!
Hot glueing, watch your fingers!
Pretty!
Pretty!
Seasonal!
Seasonal!
Love it!
Creative!

Show-n-Tell, Baby Cable Ridge Blanket

One of my nieces gave birth to a sweet baby girl!

The minute I heard about the pregnancy, my hands were itching to knit a baby blanket. I couldn’t decide between light pink or variegated yarn. I checked with the mom-to-be and it was decided–I’d combine a cool, modern yarn with a traditional pattern (shout out to Patty, the owner of Wool & Grace, who suggested the yarn and pattern). I hadn’t knit cables in a very long time (maybe not since college?) but, after a quick reminder, I was ready to go. I love how this Baby Cable Ridge Blanket turned out!

Details:

  • yarn–Malabrigo Rios, 100% Superwash Merino Wool, color “276 Medusa”
  • finished size–approximately 24″ x 32″ but after blocking, the one I knit is 27″ x 46″

Show-n-Tell, Knit Lantern Blanket

Are you a several-projects-at-a-time or a one-project-til-its-finished person?

I’m in the “several-projects” camp, and usually enjoy having choices, but working on this Lantern Blanket became my sole project from Fall until Spring. Shout out to my friend Ina who shared this pattern by @ Woolture by Sia Nv Estate. I think Ina knits blankets as quickly as I bake a tray of cookies because she has finished many blankets. Hon, this will be the only (and I mean ONLY) full size afghan I work on for a very long time. It took a ton of concentration, mistakes unraveled, rows re-done, and language not suitable for this G-rated blog. But, I did it! I finished this blanket before summer. One big goal accomplished. Whew!

Yarn info: Sueno Worsted HiKoo, 80% Merino Superwash, 20% Viscose from Bamboo, color Manatee

Source: Where else? Wool & Grace

Yarn Picks the Person Infinity Scarf

When deciding which knitting project to work on, sometimes I start with the pattern and sometimes I start with the yarn. When I found this chunky, variegated, green, wool yarn, I knew immediately who it was meant for. Using an easy rib pattern, I knit this infinity scarf as a holiday gift for my niece’s fiancé, Cherie. Looking forward the day when this pandemic is over and we can attend and celebrate the postponed wedding of she and Aline!

Want to know how talented Cherie, the stage manager for Hadestown, is? Click here to see all of her professional pursuits?

Happy holidays, hon!

 

Make Do and Mend, Hand Knit Market Bags Lined with Pretty Prints

“Make Do and Mend,” a philosophy of repairing and reusing clothes and material, originated in the UK during WWII. Though I often see alternate possibilities for household items and fabric (My family says I’m a pack rat. I call it being creative!), during quarantine the whole family was making do and mending. So, it’s no surprise that when I wanted to line my hand knit market bags (pattern below), I dug into our bag of bags and found the perfect liners:  pretty printed cotton shopping bags.

Steps to create liners out of cotton shopping bags:

  • Wash and iron bags.
  • Cut off handles.
  • Insert into knit bags and pin to fit.
  • Fold over and iron top seams.
  • Pin liners inside knit bags.
  • Sew.

During WWII, the British Ministry of Information released a pamphlet titled “Make Do and Mend.” It provided tips on how to be both frugal and stylish in times of harsh rationing. Readers were advised to create pretty “decorative patches” to cover holes in warn garments, unpick old sweaters to reknit into new styles, turn men’s clothes into women’s, as well as darn, alter, and protect against the “moth menace.”                                                    Green America

Pattern for Double Handled Market Bag from Plymouth Yarn.

DOUBLE HANDLED MARKET BAG

Yarn: 2 (3) 100g skeins of yarn

Gauge: 4.5 sts=1″ over st st on size 7 needles.

Needles: 16″ circular size 7. 24″ circular size 13.

Finished Size: Approx. 16 (20)” long. Bag will stretch.

BOTTOM: With size 7 circular needles, loosely cast 25 sts. Working back and forth in garter st, knit 46 rows or until square. Bind off loosely, leaving last st on needle. Do not cut yarn. Continuing with the circular needle, pick up and knit 96 its all around the base (24 sts per side). Place marker and join. Knit 1 round.

SIDES: Change to larger circular needle and begin pattern:

Round 1: Knit.

Round 2: *(Yo, k2tog); repeat from* around.

Round 3: Purl.

Repeat rounds 1-3 9 (11) more times until there are 10 (12) sets of “eyelet holes” up the side. End with round 3.

Next round: Change back to the smaller circular needle.

Round 1: Knit.

Round 2: Purl. Repeat these 2 rounds until there are 7 (8) ridges: 14 (16) rounds total. End with a purl round.

STRAPS: On next round: BO 14 sts, K10, BO 14 sts, K10, BO 14 sts, K10, BO 14 sts, K10. Working back and forth on these last 10 sts only–knit every row until total length of strap is 11 (14)”, ending with a WS row. Pick up the 10 sts from the opposite side (1st set of knit sts) and holding and right sides together, work the 3 needle bind off–attaching the 2 sets of sts.

Reattach yarn to second set of 10 sts with WS facing. Knit every row until total length of strap is 11 (14)”, ending with WS row. Pick up the 10 sts from the opposite side (3rd set of knit sts) and holding the right sides together, work the 3 needle bind-off-attaching the 2 sets of sts.

Weave in all ends.

Abbreviations: K=knit, p=purl, st(s)=stitch(es), RS=right side, WS=wrong side, yo=yarn over, k2tog=knit 2 sts together, BO=bind off, st st=stockinette stitch

DIY Cabinet Makeover

Before.

After.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re at it again!

Hubby and I are shuffling rooms, something we’ve been doing ever since we moved in. When I had a home-based crafts business, a bedroom became my workspace. Fast forward to triplet toddlers, and the dining room transformed into a playroom. (I definitely wasn’t entertaining!) When those same toddlers woke up every day at the crack of dawn, our “sitting room,” a small room between our bedroom and theirs, was fitted with a couch, VCR, mini fridge, and individual containers of cereal. Guess who learned how to pop in Sesame Street and get themselves drinks and snacks? (I call it promoting independence!)

Shared bedrooms gave way to individual bedrooms and back to shared when our fourth child was born. A finished attic, which had been a guest room, became our son’s room when WWIII broke out every morning. The reason?  Triplet tweens fighting over bathroom access before school! (Hubby may or may not have turned the hot water off when certain people hogged the shower!) Tween girls sharing a room argued over bedtime routines and privacy, so we somehow squeezed a twin bed and night table into the “sitting room.”

The basement has been a playroom, party room, craft room, tween and teen hangout area, American Doll sanctuary and, during quarantine, Hubby’s temporary office. Time to switch again! My office is becoming Hubby’s and the “sitting room” is becoming mine. That leads me to my newest project…re-painting an office cabinet. Just like the desk refinished recently, I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, a quick drying paint that covers furniture without priming or sanding, and Clear Chalk Paint Wax, which seals the paint. They’re the same products used to turn three different colored wood dressers and a night table in a matching set.

Refinishing furniture isn’t just relaxing, fun, and satisfying for adults; why not pick a project that kids can work on? For an Easy DIY Kids Craft, let kids choose a piece of furniture (chair, night table, step stool, side table…there are so many possibilities) and paint color. This paint has minimal fumes, goes on smoothly, and washes out with water. It’s a win-win.

Happy DIY’ing, Hon!

Taping edges.

Painting on the porch.

 

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Silk Flower Arrangement

Not Just For Kids!

Looking for an easy, DIY Mother’s Day gift? I made this silk flower arrangement for my mom when I wanted to give her something pretty that required no care. I featured a photo of it on my blog before, but How-To instructions were posted in my guest post on middle grade author Darlene Beck-Jacobson’s blog Gold From The Dust: Bringing Stories to Life. If you’re like me, you have Styrofoam-from-packages lying around the house (because why throw away something that might come in handy in a craft project?) If not, supplies can be found at local art shops such as A Paper Hat Art + Design Supply (curb side pick up) and crafts stores such as Michael’s and A.C.Moore. 

Happy creating, hon!

Supplies:
  • silk flowers
  • vessel
  • glue gun and glue sticks
  • Styrofoam blocks or pieces
  • moss
  • marker, serrated knife, wire cutter, scissor
Steps:
  1. Figure out how many pieces of Styrofoam will fit in and fill up vessel. With marker, mark where to cut Styrofoam and, using serrated knife, cut foam into correct number of pieces.
  2. Prepare flowers part 1. Determine how long stems need to be to sit inside foam and also stand above rim of vessel. Tip—hold flowers in a bunch, approximating the way they are to be arranged. This helps determine which stems are to be cut shorter and which longer. Trim stems with wire cutter.
  3. Prepare flowers, part 2. With scissors, cut off excess leaves, especially those that would sit inside foam. Too many leaves get in the way. Too few leaves may look bare. Tip–Save cut leaves to possibly glue to moss.
  4. Hot glue bottom of cut Styrofoam and secure inside vessel.
  5. Hot glue flowers stems, then stick stems into Styrofoam, carefully arranging flowers. Add extra glue to spot where foam and stems meet.
  6. Spread moss around top of Styrofoam. Lift up sections, then glue them down.
  7. Fill in bare spots of Styrofoam with more moss and cut leaves.

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Spring Bling Countertop Container

Glass marble decorated Countertop Container.
Glass marble decorated Countertop Containers.

1. Measure height and circumference of can. 2. Cut cardstock correct measurements to wrap around can. 3. Glue cardstock to can with white glue.
1. Measure height and circumference of can. 2. Cut cardstock to correct measurements to wrap around can.

Glue cardstock onto can.
3. Glue cardstock onto can.

_________________________________________________________

Let covered can sit for a bit so cardstock is secure before applying glass marbles.
4. Let covered can sit for a bit so cardstock is secure before applying glass marbles.

5. Apply glass marbles in rows from the bottom up.
5. Apply glass marbles in rows from the bottom up.

_________________________________________________________

Applying glass marbles with glue gun.
Applying glass marbles with glue gun.

Creating a pattern with colors.
Creating a pattern with colors.

Fun and Easy Decorated Containers

One of the highlights in the five weeks since we’ve been quarantined was teaching a Zoom craft class. I had so much fun working with two girls who live in the neighborhood in one class, and my nieces and nephew in another. The idea for these Spring Bling Countertop Containers came from Creative in Chicago and was called “Bling Storage for the Bathroom” so, though this was a project my After School Enrichment 3-5 kids created, it’s a fun project for any age.

Need a party idea or DIY Mother’s Day gift?  Creative In Chicago recommended lining the inside of the can with cardstock paper, then covering that with Modge Podge, but we just worked on the outside of the cans.

Happy creating, hon!

Spring Bling Countertop Containers
Supplies:

–Soup Can (I took the top off with the kind of can opener that lifts the top off rather than slices it, so there were no sharp edges.) A glass jelly jar would also work if you don’t mind seeing glue lines from the inside of the jar.

–Cardstock paper

–Glass Marbles that are flat on one side (called “Decorative Fillers”in many colors at Michael’s craft stores), Other smalls objects would also work, such as pebbles, sea shells, petrified wood, pom-poms, small toys like cute erasers, Legos, etc.

–White Glue and Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks

–scissors, ruler, pencil

Steps:

1. Measure height and circumference of can.

2. Cut cardstock to correct measurements to wrap around can.

3. With white glue, adhere cardstock to can.  Let can sit until glue dries. If using hot glue instead, glue will dry instantly.

4. Apply glass marbles in rows from the bottom up.  (By applying from the bottom, can will sit nicely on a surface. If applied top down, marbles might stick out over the bottom’s edge and the container will wobble.)

6. If there’s a gap in the glass marbles, they can be broken in half to fill the space.

7. Clean up the glue strings.

Enjoy!

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Spring Felt Bookmarks

Fun with Felt!

K-2 students made these cute, Spring-themed, animals bookmarks using the same steps as the Easy Winter Kids Crafts, Felt Mitten Bookmarks. Pick an animal and get creative with whatever decorative supplies you have on hand. Possible animals and insects besides puppies and birds? Cats, horses, unicorns, lions, butterflies, caterpillars, etc.

Happy crafting, hon!

Gather supplies.

Spring Felt Bookmarks
Suggested Supplies:  
  • felt (or a thick fabric), small pieces will do
  • fabric glue
  • grosgrain ribbon (or satin ribbon), about 14 inches per bookmark
  • tiny pom-poms
  • small googly eyes
  • any other things to use for decorating such as glitter glue, thin ribbon, foam shapes, sparkly stars
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • marker
  • craft stick (or cotton swabs)
  • newspaper, wax paper, tin foil, or cloth (whatever you don’t mind getting glue-y)
Sourcing supplies: Michael’s, Oriental Trading, Target or any local crafts store.
Steps:
  1. Set up craft area with newspaper, wax paper, etc.
  2. Measure ribbon. What size book is the bookmark being made for? A picture book? A chapter book? Measure the book, then add 6 inches to that measurement, which will allow ribbon to stick out of the top and bottom of the book and to be sandwiched between the felt. For example, if a book measures 8 inches, add 6 inches and cut a 14 inch piece of ribbon
  3. Create a paper pattern by drawing animals. We drew a profile of a puppy head and  a whole bird. Also draw a coordinating pattern for the bottom of the bookmark. We drew a bone to go with the puppies and eggs and nests to go with the birds.
  4. Cut out paper patterns.
  5. Trace shapes on felt: two side of the animal and two sides of the coordinating object. Make sure the two sides are the same so that they line up when glued together.
  6. Match up animals and objects, figuring out which will be the fronts and which will be backs. Using craft sticks (or cotton swabs), spread fabric glue on the insides of the cut-outs. Sandwich 1 inch of the ribbon between the fronts and backs. Press to help glue adhere.
  7. Decorate bookmarks, either one side of each animals or both, there’s no right or wrong.Let dry.

Tips:  Trim excess felt. Check seams for gaps and, using craft stick (or cotton swab), add extra fabric glue where needed.