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I heard the bells on Christmas Day.
Their old familiar carols play.
And wild and sweet the words repeat.
Of peace on earth goodwill to men.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

 

 

 

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The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn’t for any religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin.
~Jay Leno
 
Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. 
~Norman Vincent Peale

 

 

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day.  Don’t clean it up too quickly.  ~Andy Rooney

 

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Roses are reddish
Violets are bluish
If it weren’t for Christmas
We’d all be Jewish.
~Benny Hill

 

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The worst gift is a fruitcake.  There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.  ~Johnny Carson

 

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And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?  It came without ribbons.  It came without tags.  It came without packages, boxes or bags.  And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.  Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.  What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.  ~Dr Seuss

 

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Happy Holidays!

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I woke up this morning to a slightly-overcast grey sky, and thought to myself; “must.have.baked.goods.” And when you’re gluten-free, this usually means you make them yourself!

I’ve decided that my motto for baking these days is to take normal recipes and adapt them to my dietary needs with as few substitutions as possible; I made some coconut chocolate-chip cookies from a gluten-free mix the other day, and while they were good, they had an odd taste not like their floury counterparts. My dad even remarked that they “tasted like your hand wasn’t in them.” So I have no problem with using my trusty text The Cook Book  and, er, putting my hand in it.

Thus…

Sunday Morning Walnut-Raisin Scones

400 Degree oven, serves 8

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2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (from an all-purpose mix, or I mixed brown and white rice and soy flour. For extra sweetness try adding some coconut flour – yum)

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tbsp baking powder (5 if you use a flour with no baking powder already added)

1/4 tsp salt

Sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice (if desired – but it’s good)

1/3 cup Earth Balance buttery sticks, cut in pieces

2 beaten eggs

3/4 cup soy milk (you could also use yogurt, as original recipe calls for whipping cream)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup snipped raisins (or any fruit you like)

extra soy milk, sugar

1003101206-00 1. Combine flour, 2 tbsp sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor, cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs . Add pumpkin pie spice.

2. In another bowl combine eggs, dairy, and nuts/fruit. Add all at once to flour mixture, pulse a few times until combined (or use a fork till just moistened).

1003101204-00 3. Turn dough on a floured surface and knead by folding over 10-12 times (dough will get smoother). This is where gluten-free dough can be difficult, but if you work with a floured board/hands and add enough flour so the dough isn’t too sticky, you’ll be fine. This dough is also particularly good at sticking together, unlike some recipes.

1003101200-00 4. Work dough into 8-inch circle, and cut into 8 wedges. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. (The more milk you use, the more the scones crack a bit on the top.)

1003101201-00 5. Place wedges 1 inch apart on parchment paper-covered baking sheet, bake at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes or till golden. Delicious served warm!

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Now I’m not a going-to-church kind of gal, but there’s something about Sundays that remind me of special breakfasts with family. Sometimes there’s nothing better than a chilly morning and the smell of an oven.

Happy Sunday!

UPDATE: See the NEWER version of this recipe on my Gluten-Free site, Gluten-Free Dreaming, HERE!

 

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One of my favorite parts of summer is the time when all the blackberry bushes start to ripen, around the end of July. When I was younger we had several bushes in our backyard, and they would always be ready for picking right when we got home from yearly camping trips. Last year I of course had to make a pie with the fresh berries, and it was super-easy because I could use pre-made pie crusts. But this year, being gluten-free and all, things were a little more difficult. I tried searching the internet for a simple gluten-free recipe, but everything either had odd ingredients or was endlessly complicated. I basically try to make everything the same, but just minus a few certain ingredients, like flour and dairy.

Therefore I used my tried and true The Cook Book Berry Pie recipe, with a few changes. *

Gluten-Free Blackberry Pie

Ingredients:

For the bottom crust:41F3Y1ZK9XL._SS500_

– 1 1/8 cups all purpose gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s mixture of several flours)

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1/3 cup Earth balance buttery spread (vegan, gluten-free sticks)

3-4 tablespoons cold water

For the crumb topping:

– 1/2 cup all earth_balance_sticks_vegan_store_vivagranolapurpose gluten-free flour

– 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

– 3 tablespoons buttery spread

– 1/2 cup GF oatmeal

For the fruit filling:

– 5 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)

– 3/4 to 1 cup sugar (I used half sugar, half Splenda)

– 1/3 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour

– 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel/zest

 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. To prepare crust (double recipe for two crusts, though gluten-free dough can be difficult and hard to get a perfect top crust with, hence the crumb topping): Using a food processor (or pasty blender) add flour, butter, and salt, pulse until mixture resembles cornmeal with a few big pieces. With processor running, quickly add the 3 tbsp cold water through feed tube, stop processor when all water in added; scrape sides. Process with two pulses, remove  and shape into a ball. Place in fridge until filling is ready. ** You may need to add extra water with gluten free dough, when I made it I accidentally used 6 tbsp and it came out good.

3. For crumb topping: Stir or use food processor to combine flour, oatmeal, and sugar, cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Set aside.

4. For the filling: In large bowl stir together berries (if just washed try to soak up excess water with paper towel), sugar, and thickener (flour). Add lemon peel. GENTLY toss berries until coated.

5. Roll out bottom crust on a well-floured board and transfer to pie-pan; gluten-free dough can be hard to work with, you may have to press it into the pan with a floured hand.  Pour filling into pie shell, cover top with crumb topping.

6. Bake for 25 minutes covered with foil at 375, remove foil and cook for another 25-30 min, until filling bubbles and crust is golden. Filling may be not very firm, but will set up. Cool on a wire rack or in fridge before cutting/eating.

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Ta-Da!

This pie turned out pretty perfect, and I meant to take a picture of the full product, but as you can see, it didn’t last very long….

This pie can also be made with 5 cups of any other berry, with slightly different quantities for the filling:

 

 

Berry Filling      berries     sugar   thickener (flour)
Blueberries       5 cups 2/3 to 3/4 c     3 tbsp
Raspberries       5    3/4 to 1 c     1/3 cup
Mixed Berries       5 1/2 to 2/3 c     1/3 c
2 c blueberries, 2 c halved strawberries,
1 c black/raspberries

 

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If you have leftover berries, freeze them for later by first washing, laying them out on paper towels to dry, patting dry with paper towels, and then storing in an air-tight container.

There’s not too much crust in this recipe, so I’m going to pretend that’s it’s pretty healthy…and I think it is regardless, with all those antioxidants. Enjoy!

* Basic recipe courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens The Cook Book, Limited Edition.