Monday, December 24, 2012

GF French Silk Pie - with a great GF crust

                       Gluten-Free French Silk Pie!
          Of Course filling of a French silk pie is naturally gluten-free but not the crust - this GF crust is awesome - perhaps better than a gluten one! 


         1 1/4 cups GF rice flour blend
         1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
         1/2 teaspoon salt
         6 tablespoons cold butter
         1 large egg
         2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar

1) Lightly grease a 9" pie pan.
2) Whisk together the flour or flour blend, sugar, xanthan gum, and salt.
3) Cut the cold butter into pats, then work the pats into the flour mixture till it's crumbly, with some larger, pea-sized chunks of butter remaining.
4) Whisk the egg and vinegar or lemon juice together till very foamy. Mix into the dry ingredients. Stir until the mixture holds together, adding 1 to 3 additional tablespoons cold water if necessary.
5) Shape into a ball and chill for an hour, or up to overnight.
6) Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling.
7) Roll out on a piece of plastic wrap, on a silicone rolling mat, or in a pie bag that's been heavily sprinkled with gluten-free flour or flour blend. Invert the crust into the prepared pie pan.
8) Fill and bake as your pie recipe directs.
Yield: crust for one 9" single-crust pie.
         The egg yolk makes this crust vulnerable to burned edges, so always shield the edges of the crust, with aluminum foil or a pie shield, to protect them while baking.
         To pre-bake without filling, preheat the oven to 375°F. Line the bottom with pie weights, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the weights, and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, till the crust is a light golden brown.

French silk filling –
3 oz Hershey's® unsweetened chocolate, cut into pieces
1 cup Butter, softened (do not use margarine)
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
4  eggs
½ cup sweetened whipped cream

Chocolate curls, if desired

In 1-quart saucepan, melt chocolate over low heat; cool. In small bowl with electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in cooled chocolate and vanilla until well blended.

Add eggs 1 at a time, beating on high speed 2 minutes after each addition; beat until mixture is smooth and fluffy. Pour into cooled baked shell. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate curls. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Melted Crayon Ornaments!

It may be wrong - but I love to melt crayons!!!
This Pinterest inspired project is Hot! Literally! But so much fun!

Here's How it's done -
What you will need: Clear glass ornaments, crayons, and a hair dryer.

Take the top off of the ornament and drop in bits of crayon - not too many. Think about color mixing for best results (This is where I hope you listened to your art teacher and remember how colors mix!)
Put the top back on and hold by the top. Apply heat to the crayons until they begin to melt. 

Spin or twirl the ornament to allow the crayon to spread around the ornament. Careful! It does get hot! 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pinterest Project #11 - Not really a project but a very handy tip!

Chocolate Chip Storage - Genius!

I pinned this one a while back and knew we had to try it. Chuck and I love, I mean really Love, our Ghiraardelli 60% dark chocolate chips. We prefer them to be kept in the freezer. They are super good like that. If you haven't ever tried them - give 'em a go! They satisfy that need for something just a bit sweet and my ever present chocolate craving.

These are great chips but the bag rips easily. So if you go to grab the bag and sprinkle out a handful you may end up having some fall out of ripped sections of the bag. I get really upset at the shameless loss of such good chocolate as they bounce to the floor! (There is no 5 second rule in this house - we live with two labs!)

So when I saw this idea I thought it looked genius. I had a couple of failures at trying to get it to work though. First I tried a regular water bottle - which is what the pinned picture looked like to me. See the pin here.  It worked to close it but really was too small of an opening to let chips come out.  Then I tried a larger water bottle, but the opening wasn't really any wider. I spotted a Gatorade bottle in the store and knew that would probably work better. 

So a trip into Sara's room and her overflowing garbage can supplied me with a Gatorade bottle. I had to fish around a bit to find the lid...Jeez...the junk food wrappers in there! After a good rinsing and drying, I cut the bottle to just keep the top portion. I cut open a new bag of chocolate chips along the seam and fed it through the opening in the bottle, wrapped the extra down the side, and made sure the chips had a clear opening to make their way out. The lid was able to twist right on securing them from spilling out!

 Here's how it looks with the lid off. Like my new nail color?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pinterest Project #10 - Melted Crayon Art

Of Course - Did you really think I wouldn't get around to this one?!
Choosing a 102 degree day was probably not the best idea -but it worked out well and the melting was fast!

Here's the finished project -

I decided to try something a bit different than just melting the crayons. I wanted to incorporate text into the design so I cut out letters in duct tape and stuck them onto the canvas. My thought is that I would melt the crayons over and around the tape and then pull it off when the wax was hardened.

I picked out the crayons I wanted and hot glued them in place.

Then out to the back deck with the blow dryer (in 102 degree sun) and let the melting begin. I really wasn't sure how the wax would react. I figured it would drip down as I turned the canvas. I was surprised by the splattering the happened. Luckily I put a piece of brown paper down as I melted, but it didn't all stay there...could be a bit of color on the deck and even possibly the house (oops).

After the wax was hard, I peeled the tape letters off. I was expecting the caves to be white under the tape but some of the color must have seeped under. I liked the look, however the word was a bit hard to read so I went over the edge of the letters with a black sharpie.

Molly gives her sniff of approval!

If you want some other melted crayon ideas - visit my Pinterest board "Crayon Projects"

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed Yumminess!

Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with lemon glaze
It has been awhile since I used my cupcake pans...just haven't been baking much lately. So it was time! Chuck seemed quite pleased when I mentioned thinking about making lemon poppy seed muffins today while we were at the store - he quickly added, "with the lemon glaze!"  The recipe I normally would have used for this would have been my sister-in-law's recipe in a wonderful family cookbook she gave us one year. Unfortunately that calls for a box mix and pudding that are not gluten-free. =(  But I went on the hunt for a from-scratch recipe that I could adjust to make it GF as well as a bit less of the unhealthy sugar that Chuck and I try to avoid when we bake things.

I have not yet tasted one...too full after the best ever sesame chicken...but he has had at least two and declare them to be great. So Success!!

The final adjusted recipe can be found on the following page of this blog - Gluten-Free Cupcake & Muffin Recipes

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pinterest Project #9 - Even Better GF Sesame Chicken

Gluten-Free Sesame Chicken - This One is a Keeper!!

I tried what I thought was a pretty good Sesame Chicken recipe last week -(Pinterest Project #6). It was yummy - but this one I pinned more recently looked more like the sesame chicken I used to get at Chinese restaurants before going GF. So tonight I gave this one a try. So glad I did!!! This one is Very Good!!!!

Here's the original pin --> 
The blog that  is linked to has a bunch of really good recipes.

Pinterest Project #8 - Let's Melt Some Plastic Beads!

Melted Inexpensive Pony Beads = Suncatcher!

This idea was pinned to my "Gotta Try" board. You place a single layer of plastic beads into a metal pan and heat them at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Here's the original pin -->

So here's what I did ---
I grabbed a couple of pans. I thought this heart pan would work nice and I had some small fluted pans (honestly don't know where these came from!) I put a small nut into the heart pan - thinking that it would leave a hole for hanging. I placed both of these on a cookie sheet to make it easier to handle.

 Then I just started filling the heart with beads I thought would work well together. It was taking quite awhile to pick out these colors and get them into a single layer, so I enlisted the help of Shawn to make it go faster (and to give him something different to do). I asked him if he wanted to help me with an experiment. "Are we going to blow something up?" He asked with a smile. "No, not today...we're going to melt something."

When I told Shawn I was going to melt the plastic beads in the oven he asked, "Isn't that kind of toxical?" Gotta love him!  I turned the exhaust fan onto high just make sure it didn't smell too "toxical", lol.

The little pan took about 20 minutes. The larger heart took about 25 minutes.

I had Shawn put some blue opaque beads into the little one because I wanted to see if these would look as good as the transparent ones. They came out interesting -but not for a suncatcher. They would look good as a melted bowl perhaps.

Isn't this heart-shaped one pretty right out of the oven?
 I did a second run of these using a round cake pan that was smaller than the heart one. I noticed from my first trial that the nut worked -but wasn't really needed. To create a hole just leave beads out of a small area. So that is what I did on the round one. I also put the beads into a design on my second try. I think I like it better randomly placed.

I strung the heart and the round shape together and placed them into the garden. The sun bounced off them as the spun around with the breeze.

 Here's the little guys from the fluted pan. It's better to use a smooth-sided pan. These have sharp edges.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pinterest Project #7 - Mmmm Lasagna!

I was pretty lazy today - no work on a mosaic or bleaching a t-shirt. In fact I can honestly say that I didn't even get out of my pjs until near noon! I spent most of the morning responding to emails from a couple different art teachers who had questions on some things they saw on my art ed blog and website (yes - even though it's summer - many of us can't completely shut down the lesson planning). I love sharing ideas with teachers from all around the world. When I started teaching 17 years ago - I had no idea this kind of collaboration would be possible! I couldn't of imagined it. My Art Ed blog - Splats, Scraps, and Glue Blobs and My Art With Mrs. G! Website 

But even though no artsy Pinterest projects were on the agenda for the day - Pinterest did play a role in the day - or at least the evening. Dinner!

Low Carb - Gluten-Free Lasagna 
Here's a picture of the finished product. Though it was lower carb and GF it was not low on taste! Very Yummy!

Visit my Low Carb & Yummy board for the original pin and recipe -->

Here's what it looked like right out of the oven....mmmmm smell that?

Here's my helping next to a healthy salad - Thanks to Heidi for the lettuce from her garden!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pinterest Project #6 - Gluten-Free Sesame Chicken

Sesame Chicken - Low carb and Gluten-free!

Eating gluten-free can get boring at times. There is a great variety of things you can cook and eat - but it certainly isn't as easy coming up with dinner ideas when you can't tolerate gluten.  So I'm always looking for different ideas.

<--Tonight we tried this recipe I found on Pinterest - Sesame Chicken
I followed the recipe as is and it came out pretty good. It had good flavor and the chicken was very juicy. The crust was a touch floury tasting because the pan I used was a bit too big for the amount of oil and butter - so it didn't crisp up as much as it should have.
 We also had some  broccoflower with it. That was very good - looked like green cauliflower!

It's a thumbs up and will do this one again.

Pinterest Project #5 - T-Shirt + Bleach pen = Cool!

This one is from my Pinterest board titled "T-shirt art ideas"
There are quite a few of ideas there I want to try but this one really intrigued me. It seemed so simple - a shirt and a bleach pen. The idea of being able to draw a design on easily with a fine tipped bleach pen seemed too simple to be true - but it was!

Click on the following link to see the original Pinterest post that I pinned -

So Here's What I did - 
I started with a black t-shirt from Target that I purchased on sale for $5. 
It's 100% cotton - but would probably work just fine as long as it was mostly cotton. 
I also picked up the bleach pen there for about $3.

I wanted the design to be on the side of the front and back of the shirt similar to the blue one above so I turned the shirt on the side so that the seam was in the middle. I slipped a piece of cardboard into the shirt and also added some wax paper so the bleach wouldn't seep through to the other side.

And away I went! - drawing my design with the fine tip side of the bleach pen. I wanted to do a cherry blossom branch like design and was confident in just going for it without a design drawn out first. 
You could take a piece of chalk and draw out the design you want first.

It was fun to watch how fast the color changed as I was drawing. The fumes from the bleach pen started to bother me a bit so I took it outside to sit for about 30 minutes. The longer you leave it on the lighter it will become. Of course that is dependent on what color of shirt you start with. On a lighter shirt you may not need to have it sit as long. Just keep an eye on it until it is the color you want.

I rinsed the shirt in cold water to get the remaining bleach off and stop the bleaching action. 
Then tossed it in the washer on cold with a bit of soap.

The Finished Product! - 

It has the Toby sniff of approval!
I think it came out pretty good and I can't wait to try it again. Next time with a lighter color. I'm also thinking of trying to use a stencil and spray bottle of bleach to mist around a design.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Pinterest Project #4 - A New Addition to the Garden

This project is a nice addition to our back yard garden area. 

Here's the original pin that inspired this project -

Galvanized Tipsy Pots

I spent some time Wednesday morning wandering around different stores to gather some supplies to build this. My best assistant listened patiently as I told him what I wanted to do and how I thought we could go about doing it.

It took us about an hour to put it together.

That's concentration there!
By dinner time Wednesday we had it all put together and in the spot I wanted it. Now to get flowers and fill it up! But that would have to wait a day or so. Thursday was not a day for planting - very cold and super rainy.

This morning I hunted down flowers I wanted and finished planting just in time for Chuck to come home and see the finished product. I love it!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pinterest Project #3 - Cold, Rainy Day=Baking!

Today is one Yucky Day! It's cold and rainy so I couldn't finish the project I started yesterday. It involves the garden and I'm a fair weather gardener. It has to be warm and sunny for me to work in the yard. I love the sun! Sadly - there is none today...So switch gears from an outside project to an inside one.

My Pinterest boards that include food are growing each day - so I didn't have a hard time finding something to bake. Yet Chuck and I really try our best to eat as healthy as we can. Now we're not crazy healthy- we have a tasty Starbucks way too many times a week and I just had to have some Dairy Queen ice cream to put the oh so yummy caramel sauce on last night (boy was that a great idea...mmmm....more left for tonight). But we do try really hard to make food that is best for us and for my aggravating stomach issues. We cut out a lot of processed food and try to limit fructose. Both of these things I've found tend to bother me somewhat and I just don't feel well after eating a lot of it. We've totally cut out gluten...and unfortunately I seem to be quite sensitive to even a little bit of it - seemingly safe fruit that was probably cross-contaminated on a cutting board or by someone's hands putting in on the platter can even make for a uncomfortable day for me. We seem to find a good balance of healthy sprinkled with enough sweet treats to make life great! Today for instance - I know that tonight I want to have some more of the ice cream with I make sure that the rest of the food today will be much better for me and my tummy than that treat. Being at home, inside on a rainy day means the munchies will be calling. So this morning I made up a batch of Kale chips. These crispy, salty leaves are perfect to munch on and not feel guilty about calories or feel upset from a processed snack like potato chips. As of 3pm Sara and I have finished the whole pan of them! Lots of nutrients and little calories.

So as I looked for an interesting recipe on one of my Pinterest boards to make, I knew I would try one of the more healthy ones. I decided to try a chocolate muffin recipe that I pinned a while back. Now I know - Chocolate muffins don't sound very healthy but the ingredients intrigued me so I gave it a try.
Here's the photo from the original pin - and the link --> Chocolate muffins

I followed the recipe as it was written with the exception of the sweetener. Chuck and I do not eat any artificial sweeteners and I really don't like Stevia. We try to stay away from too much fructose so when baking something for us we use glucose so I added about 1 1/4 cups of glucose (also called dextrose) instead of the sweetener the recipe called for. I also didn't use as many chocolate chips as they did. I used just a few of our favorite Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips put on the top a few minutes before they were done.
Mine didn't come out as pretty as the ones pictured above. I didn't fill the papers enough so mine are smaller. But they came out very yummy. Chuck had two already as soon as he came home. He scraped the "chocolate paper" pretty clean so that's a Thumbs Up from him!

I couldn't wait for it to cool down before trying - so this one was ooey gooey good.