Gluten-free (Strawberry) Shortcake

When I was growing up my mom always made Bisquick type biscuits for Strawberry Shortcake and I continued to make it for years, but in a gluten-free form.  When strawberries first hit the local stores a few months ago I went looking for a new recipe for Strawberry Shortcake (either gluten-free or regular since I knew how to revise the recipe).  I found the following in a Google search:

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/strawberry-shortcake

This shortcake is fluffy and my family really likes it so I think it will be my new standard.

gluten free, gluten-free, recipe, shortcake

Here is my version of the shortcake

Gluten Free Shortcake
Ingredients:
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening (or coconut oil)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cup gluten-free flour (* my mixture doesn’t have xanthan gum in it)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup milk

whipped cream
fruit – fresh or frozen strawberries, sliced or other favorite fruit

Directions:
In a bowl, cream sugar and shortening (or coconut oil). Add egg and vanilla; beat well.
Combine dry ingredients and add alternately with milk to the creamed mixture.
Spread in a greased 9 inche square baking pan.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
Cool on wire rack.
Cut into nine servings. Split each serving horizontally, fill with the fruit and add whipped cream on top.

Enjoy!  – H

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Patriotic Flag Wreath – TidyMom.net

I try not to post too many updates in one week, but I just finished this and you might want to make one for the 4th of July also.

Want to make an easy Red, White and Blue wreath that can go outside (especially if you don’t add the lights) that your kids could easily do/help with?

I saw this idea on TidyMom.net

http://tidymom.net/2013/easy-patriotic-flag-wreath/

patriotic, wreath, DIY, easy

I figured it was something I could easily do since I already had an unused wire wreath form (and battery powered lights, but I haven’t put them on since the wreath is currently hanging outside where it could get wet if it rains).  I went to the local Dollar Store and picked up the plastic tablecloths and the tablecloth weights so this project cost me $4.00 + tax and some time in front of the television at night.

I think it turned out pretty nice.

If you live local (and know my personally) I will give you the leftover tablecloth pieces so you can start your own (if you ask me).

Thanks to TidyMom.Net for posting this idea.

What new holiday decoration do you want to do?

Later – H

Cleaning a Dry Erase Board using a natural item

Do you have a Dry Erase Board at home and/or work?  Have you ever looked into what is in the Dry Erase Board Cleaner?

If you know me very well you know I have allergies – dust, mold, etc and was diagnosed with Exercise-Induced Asthma a few years ago (I knew I always hated running as a kid and always wondered why it seemed so harder for me that everyone else, but that is another story).  I have also recently realized that my asthma will flare up when I am around spray chemicals.

Where I worked we always had MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for the ‘chemicals’ we used (including Dry Erase Board Cleaner, White-Out, etc), but I never thought about it for home.

Due to my allergies, etc I started investigating Essential Oils to see if I could find something that would help me out versus over-the-counter (and prescription medicines).  I am still investigating that so when I figure out what works for me I will write a post.

I realized the other day that the pump bottle of Dry Erase Board Cleaner we had was almost empty.  When I turned over the bottle I was surprised to see what the ingredients were and the safety precautions:

* Ingredients: Contains 2-Butoxy Ethanol / Acetate, Isopropyl Alcohol.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t even know what 2-Butoxy Ethanol was until I just did an Internet Search:

Per Wikipedia:         http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2-Butoxyethanol

– 2-Butoxyethanol is an organic solvent with the formula BuOC2H4OH

(Bu = CH3CH2CH2CH2). It is a colorless liquid with a sweet, ether-like odour.  It is a butyl ether of ethylene glycol.

* Safety Warnings on the package: Flammable. May be harmful by ingestion or by skin contact. May be harmful if swallowed. Eye irritant.

Per Wikipedia:   Moderate respiratory exposure to 2-butoxyethanol often results in irritation of mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat.  I know this isn’t an issue for my household since we have a small (about 1 ft by 2 ft) dry erase board.

Yuck, did I really want anymore of this in my house if I could find something natural that would work?  I saw the other day that a drop of Lemongrass Essential Oil on a cloth could be used as a Dry Erase Board Cleaner – really?  So, I just tried it.

dry erase, essential oil, lemon grass, natural cleaner

Wow, I was surprised at how clean the board came (without erasing the writing first) and how dirty the paper towel was. And the board now has a nice Lemon smell instead of a chemical smell.

Like the husband said Lemongrass it is used in Thai and Chinese cooking so it is definitely natural. (Essential Oils are usually made by steam extraction.)

I definitely won’t be buying anymore commercial Dry Erase Board Cleaner especially since I already own the Lemongrass Essential Oil.

* Note: These opinions are my own and I was not sponsored to do this review.

What cleaner, etc in your house do you wish had a natural replacement?

Later – H

Book Review – The Lazy Couponer

I picked up The Lazy Couponer by Jamie Chase from the library.  I have been using coupons for years, but I figured I might learn something new.

I have picked up a few tips so far and I haven’t finished the book yet.  But, I have been slow at reading it so it is due back at the library.  I will be checking it out again so I can go over (and finish) it again.

She has a lot of really good hints about how you can stack a store coupon (and shows examples of how to tell if it is a store or manufacturer coupon – something I couldn’t always tell) and manufacturer coupon for the same product.

I added this book to the following page:

Places to print coupons and Books related to coupons

What books have you read lately and would recommend?

Later – H

Guest Signature Engagement Photo book

One project I finished in May,  that I had been working on for a few months, was the Guest Signature Engagement Photo Shutterfly book for our niece who is getting married at the end of June.  It consisted of getting digital copies of their engagement photos from their photographer (that happened way easier than I thought), arranging them using the Shutterfly software (and picking out colors, etc),  showing the book to the couple and making minor changes.  I used a Groupon deal and got the book for less than 1/2 price – nice!  I was afraid the shipping would be slow so I had it shipped to bride’s mom’s house and it arrived by the end of May.  So, now I have to wait for the wedding to see the actual book.  

I still need to investigate / try out different permanent pens on old photos to see which is the best pen to use for the signatures.  If you have any suggestions please make a comment or send an email (listed on the About page).  Thanks!

Later – H