Sunday, September 25, 2011

Back in Town!

So much has happened in the last couple of weeks, it seems it should have been a couple of months!  God is good, and so faithful to teach me to love Him! 

I have so much to tell, and some very fun pictures to share of Northwoods and Chicago adventures, but tis late!  I've finally caught up on school, and could not turn the computer off without writing something. So how about a glimpse of the beautiful  Michigan scenery we get this time of year?

I love the view from my back yard.  Just say'n.....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

VBS Is Over!!!

Yes, I actually just finished all the little post VBS jobs that have been waiting for me since July. about procrastination...  (maybe tomorrow)  Anyway, I finally bought and finished making the guy's teacher appreciation gifts which means I can turn in my receipts, which means I can plow full speed ahead into planning next year's VBS! 

I like how this year's gifts turned out.  Since it was a military theme I wanted to get something along the same lines, so this is what I came up with... 

OK, so its not super military, but I like it!

I get a lot of questions about how I develop my VBS curriculum.  I'm hoping to document the procedure here and share some of the things I've learned and resources I use.  Be on the look out!

For now I am Northwoods bound (a very happy thought!)  Pics coming in a couple weeks!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Gluten Free Apple Pie

It has been a while since I have made a pie, much less the all American apple pie.  But after judging them at fair this summer (and last summer) I think I have an idea of what makes an apple pie just right.  Its the crust.  Tender, never hard, just flaky enough to make it appealing without falling apart.  It is the all important, essential, cannot do with out, make it or break it "piece of the pie" when it comes to baking the all American classic. 

However, when living with and baking for someone with a gluten intolerance, the ever elusive perfect pie crust is even more elusive.  So, here is my stab at making gluten free pie crust that does not taste or look gluten free.  And actually, I think I did a halfway decent job!   (yes, I'm patting my self on the back... but you don't know how hard it is to bake gluten free!!!!!)

Step one, the filling!  Not hard to do this part gluten free.  As you can see in the picture it looks super runny.  I made the filling from apples we had frozen from last fall.  When they defrosted, there was a lot of juice that I did not want to waste, (plus, who likes dry apple pie?) so, instead of draining it off, I added some quick cooking tapioca pearls.  The tapioca cooks with the pie and soaks up all of the yummy juices and spices, maintaining the flavor, while giving you better texture!  I used lemon zest, Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and sugar to flavor the filling.

Now for the hard part.  I have tried several gluten free pie crusts, but have not been satisfied with any of them.  After reading through several more gluten free recipes and not being satisfied with any of those either, I decided to just go for it with the ingredients I had on hand and hope for the best.  I mean, the worst that could happen is that I end up with another flopped crust!

The ingredient list ended up looking like this:
1C. Brown rice flour
1C. Tapioca four
1C. Potato starch
1C. Sorghum flour
1tsp. Salt
1 Stick frozen butter
and "some" sugar

First things first, when mixing several different kinds of flours, make sure you mix them thoroughly together so it looks like one flour before adding anything else.  Who wants a bite of entirely sorghum flour with their apple pie?  Next I mixed in the sugar and salt.  Now the fun part :)  I grated the frozen butter (make sure it is entirely frozen) into the dry ingredients.  It was much easier and faster than cutting the butter into the flour!  When adding the butter I stopped every few seconds and coated the butter shreds with flour so they would not stick together in one big clump.  After the entire stick of butter was grated, I added enough water to make a smooth dough.  It came together beautifully!  After rolling it out, this is what it looked like!

How beautiful is that?!?!?  I've never had a gluten free pie crust come together so well and stay together without crumbling!  It was nicer to work with than some pie crusts I've made that contain gluten.  I was on top of the world!  And of course, it looks so much better when there is filling in it...

The top crust...

After about an hour and a half of baking time... (at 350) not sure if that had something to do with the flour mixture I used or if it was just being ornery... this is what came out of the oven!

A while later, this is all that was left!  I think, just maybe, it was a success!  

A few notes about the crust:  It wasn't super flaky, and the crimped edges were a bit hard.  Next time I don't think I'll use sorghum flour, I could taste the sorghum a bit to much for my taste, but I got no complaints from anyone else!  ...Well, they did say I could have cut the pieces a bit bigger....