Friday, November 25, 2016

Amazing & Easy Gluten Free Pie Crust *Finally*

People have asked me many times for a good gluten free pie crust. Unfortunately, I'm not really an avid pie baker. But, when my mom challenged me to make my grandmother's chocolate pie for Thanksgiving, I got to work. I looked at a couple of recipes and meshed them to get as close to my grandma's pie crust as possible, and I'm THRILLED with the results. This dough uses inexpensive gluten free flours, is very easy to work with, not loose or sticky like normal gluten free doughs.

1 cup superfine rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp xanthan gum
3oz (approx. 1/2 cup - but I used and recommend a food scale)  vegetable shortening (I used Organic Spectrum)
1oz cold butter (two tbsp.)
1 large egg
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
4+ tbsp ice water

Mix dry ingredients and rub in shortening and butter with your fingers until evenly distributed. It'll look crumbly and stick together when you squeeze it in your hands.

In a separate bowl, mix together egg and apple cider vinegar. Add into dry mixture and start mixing together with your hands, adding water by tablespoon until you have a nice ball of dough (that is smooth and not too sticky). Knead for a minute or two.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for approximately and hour.

After dough is chilled, roll out evenly in between pieces of plastic wrap using a little gluten free flour if it sticks (mine doesn't). Remove top layer of plastic from your dough, pick up dough by lifting under the bottom layer of plastic wrap, and gently press into your greased pie plate. Remove second layer of plastic wrap. Cut excess dough off around the edges, pinch around the perimeter for a nice look, and use a fork to poke the bottom of the crust so it doesn't bubble in the oven.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes.

If I'm adding a filling that needs cooked, I'll cook the crust half way, add the filling and finish cooking the pie in the oven. You could probably add your filling to the raw crust if your filling will take a little longer to bake. You can definitely roll this out into a lattice top crust if you're baking a fruit pie, but I would  brush with an egg wash and maybe use more butter instead of shortening if you're hoping for a golden brown look. I've had great success and forgiveness with this recipe!

Happy gluten free baking!

Original recipes were adapted from The Joy of Cooking and this recipe.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

What's cooking' over here! "Mostly" Paleo Zucchini Bread. Gluten Free

It's our first week back to school and one thing, among many, stands out to me, and that's HOW MUCH I LIVE IN THE KITCHEN during the school year.

Maybe I'm a little too "crunchy" for many of you, but I struggle with how much junk food and sugar kids consume daily. I feel like I can never have little treats for them because they're getting so much junk that's out of my control. The summer is nice, because I get to be the one to give them the occasional treat.

While I've learned to let a lot of this go, because I have no choice, I'm loving that at school this year, parents send in snacks for their own individual kids instead of for the class. .

So while sometimes I'm just like the next mom and open a bag of pretzels, I really try to have healthy but delicious food around for my kids to enjoy, that also nourishes their body. Not perfection, but my best.

So I've made some new recipes lately that have been a success, and I want to share them with you!

"Mostly" Paleo Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Above is the link to the original recipe, but I made a lot of adaptations so here's my version of this delicious and nutritious bread (that could double as a cake).

    1 ¼ cups almond flour

    ¼ cup cocoa powder

    ¼ teaspoon salt

    ½ teaspoon baking soda

    2 large eggs

    2 tablespoons coconut oil

    ¼ cup honey

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    2 tbsp xylitol (or other sweetener of your choice/or omit)

    1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (plus extra for topping)

    1 cup zucchini, grated & extra water squeezed out well

    Elena uses a food processor for many of her recipes. Because they are paleo, some of the coarser flours benefit from being ground further by the blades. I like to pulse the dry ingredients with the zucchini to make it finer too...I don't love the larger strands of zucchini in my bread, but it's a preference. Pulse in your wet ingredients well, and then stir in your chocolate chips.

    I used a greased 9 inch round cake pan and baked at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, less than she suggests...and it comes out perfectly moist and not dried out like too many gluten free baked goods!

    I pulled it out and sprinkled a handful of mini chocolate chips on top and after a few minutes, used the back of a spoon to spread them around, making an easy glaze on top. It cooled on the counter for a couple hours before the girls ate it for their after-school snack.

    It was a hit! Minimal added sugar in the added chocolate chips. You can omit those to make this completely free of refined sugar. Super high in protein and heart healthy almond flour. Um, hello veggies in cake! Honey and coconut oil are also powerhouses for nutrients and antioxidants. 

    This is a recipe that your kids will eat, and you'll feel GOOD about them eating it! One of my kids even had it for breakfast this morning, thinking she was eating junk. We both win!

    Wednesday, August 3, 2016

    Warning: It's My Anniversary

    It's my 14th I'm gonna gush. You've been warned. I keep it tame as often as I can, but most of the time, I'm just terribly in love.

    I can say that right? I mean, I'm really in love with my husband.
    My high school graduation 2000.
    Is our marriage perfect? Of course not. In 17 years together, we've been through so much. Illness, surgeries, grief, worries and sadness. But, we've also been through even more beauty, joy, love, fun, and laughter. Through all of it, my choice has not wavered. I'm in love with my husband.

    1999 Niagara Falls
    He is the most selfless, loving man I have ever known.
    He is a fierce protector with a gentle spirit. 

    Mission Trip to Mexico City 2000

    I know Jesus better because of who Matt is.

    Babies. Just started dating 1999
    He always puts our needs above his own.

    He makes me laugh. A lot.

    I've given up trying to figure out how and why I get to do life with someone I adore so much, and have just accepted the gift.

    Eighteen years ago, as teenagers, Matt and I met at our youth group, the same one we still support today. I was 17 and he was 19 a year later when we started dating. I knew immediately that I was not only in love, but safe with an amazing man.

    Getting' hitched 2002
    Three years later at 20 and 22 years old, we were married. Both in college. Broke. Living on love and pizza rolls. Actually, for almost 4 years until we graduated college and Hannah was 5 months old, we lived on the second floor of a funeral home. The rent was cheap and the neighbors were quiet. Get it?

    Hannah 2005

    Five years after that, years full of ups and downs, trials and hopes, we found out our second miracle, Emma Grace was on her way and, although she was small, she was (and is) mighty.

    Emma 2010

    My heart is full of God's provision, and I am SO THANKFUL that He has blessed me with a husband to walk with. Lean on. Care for. Hold on to. 

    Reading & Drinking Coffee...We love.
    Biking, Basketball, Working out together...We also love.

    Our babies 2015...we REALLY LOVE!

    Today, we have traditional roles. Provider, amazing father, loving husband & stay at home wife and mama. It works well for us. I pray that we have and look forward to many many years more together watching our family grow and serving God with them.

    Orlando 2016

    No, life isn't perfect, but it is beautiful. I can't even dream up a man who would be a better husband, love, father and friend than Matt, and I thank God for him every single day.

    Hanging out on the North Shore 2016
    Happy 14th Anniversary to my Baby! I love you!

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