Archive for the ‘My Work’ Category

Gluten-Free Rainbow Bundt Cake

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Gluten-Free Rainbow Bundt Cake from MomAdvice.com.

I am so excited to share a delicious Gluten-Free Rainbow Bundt Cake recipe that you can make using a simple boxed mix, a little food coloring, and a few odds & ends from your pantry. This Rainbow Cake is made in a tube pan, versus a layered cake, and is a fun addition to your St. Patrick’s Day spread.

Walmart challenged me to share a St. Patrick’s Day project that you could create out of items from their store. You may remember my rainbow cakes in a jar that I created a couple of years ago. Now that I am eating gluten-free, I wanted to replicate the idea of a rainbow cake, but I wanted to do it in one pan and I wanted to make it a quicker process by using a cake mix.

Gluten-Free Rainbow Bundt Cake from MomAdvice.com.Gluten-Free Rainbow Bundt Cake from MomAdvice.com.

To make a vibrantly colored cake, I want to point out that it is really important to use good icing colors to achieve your rainbow cake colors. Over by the party supplies, you will find professional cake decorating supplies at Walmart. You want to purchase the Wilton Icing Colors. These concentrated gels offer a much brighter color than what you will find over in the baking section of the grocery section. I just use a toothpick to dip in the gel and then swirl it through my cake batter. You may need to do this a couple of times to achieve this level of brightness, but it still will take a lot less than the other brands of food coloring.

Gluten-Free Rainbow Bundt Cake from MomAdvice.com.Gluten-Free Rainbow Bundt Cake from MomAdvice.com.

When I decided I wanted to make this cake, I went through tons of tons of cake recipes to figure out how to layer the batter. My inspiration for creating my rainbow arch was from not martha and her Leprechaun Trap Cake that she created a few years ago. Her arch is so much more beautiful than mine. I highly encourage you to read her tutorial for a perfect arch and read mine for a just meh arch. That being said, do prepare this in a tube pan versus a bundt pan to achieve the best arch. 

Do you have a digital scale? I highly recommend purchasing one because it will make projects like this a million times easier. I have had mine for many years and I use it for both weighing packages and as a food scale! Be sure to tare it with the bowl on top to begin your measurements each time.

I used the measurements outlined by not martha for measurements for my batter:

  • 6 ounces – red
  • 5 ounces – orange
  • 4 ounces – yellow
  • 3 ounces – green
  • 2 ounces – blue
  • 1 ounce – purple
  • The remainder of the rest of the batter, leave it white.

To scoop batter into the bowls, I relied upon an ice cream scoop to scoop it into the bowls on the scale. To make pouring the batter easier, place the cake batter in a baggie in a tall glass and hang the opening over the sides of your glass. Pour your batter in and then seal the baggie. Just snip a corner of the baggie to begin pouring your batter into the pan.

Gluten-Free Rainbow Bundt Cake from MomAdvice.com.

Gluten-free cakes tend to be more delicate so you definitely want to let this fully cool before trying to work with it. The side that has all the beautiful vibrant colors is not the top of the cake. It is the bottom of the cake. I accidentally iced this side so don’t make my mistake. If you find that your cake is puffy on the bottom, use a serrated knife to even it up a bit so your cake is not lopsided.

Gluten-Free Rainbow Bundt Cake from MomAdvice.com.Gluten-Free Rainbow Bundt Cake from MomAdvice.com.Gluten-Free Rainbow Bundt Cake from MomAdvice.com.

I posted a picture of this cake as I was glazing it on Instagram. To quote myself, “I never go easy on the sprinkles. I consider them the jazz hands on my desserts.”

Who quotes themselves? Sorry about that!

Glaze and sprinkle this cake liberally!

Gluten-Free Rainbow Bundt Cake from MomAdvice.com.Gluten-Free Rainbow Bundt Cake from MomAdvice.com.

I was disappointed that I had iced the wrong side and that my purple didn’t get perfectly centered. I think it is one of those cakes that might take a little more practice. My friends didn’t seem to notice or mind my errors though because this was one yummy cake! I doubt your kids would notice or care either. It might be a fun one to try together!

I hope you love it as much as we did and I hope this tutorial helps you while you make your own gluten-free rainbow cake!

Gluten-Free Rainbow Bundt Cake
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A gluten-free rainbow cake perfect for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day
Ingredients
  • 1 Hodgson Mill Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix (over by the gluten-free ingredients in the candy aisle of your store, not in the baking aisle)
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 package of Wilton Gel Food Colorings
  • 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons milk (or milk substitute)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • Rainbow Sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan liberally with cooking spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter until soft. Add cake mix and blend completely.
  3. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract and beat until completely blended. The batter will be thick.
  4. Divide your batter into eight bowls using the measurements in this post and tint accordingly.
  5. First pour the larger amount of white batter into the pan. Then pour the red batter in, making it a wide ring of batter. Then pour the orange over that, keeping it inside the red. Pour in each color, creating smaller and smaller rings.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, testing with a toothpick to check when the cake is done.
  7. Once the cake is cooled, prepare your icing.
  8. Melt the butter and add to rest of ingredients. Mix until creamy.
  9. Spoon the glaze over your cake and finish with rainbow sprinkles.

Enjoy this tasty treat with a DIY Shamrock Shake and our free St. Patrick’s Day straw printable!

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Gluten-Free Pancakes (With A Better Batter Coupon Code)

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Gluten-Free Pancakes from MomAdvice.com.

If there is one thing this girl loves, it is pancakes. Today I am sharing a recipe for gluten-free pancakes that taste as light and fluffy as our gluten-filled variety, but are perfect for creating for those who cannot tolerate gluten.

Gluten-Free Pancakes from MomAdvice.com.

Fluffy gluten-free pancakes are easier to create than you might think, it just requires the right measurements, a good flour, and a little milk on hand if your batter gets too thick. Before we made the switch to gluten-free, I loved to throw wheat germ into our hearty wheat-filled pancake. No wonder I felt so awful after our Sunday brunches!

Now we have substituted our wheat love-fest with flax seed in our pantry for our pancakes and energy bites, a deliciously healthy addition to just about anything, and still get that taste and texture that I love.  As with all my favorite pancake recipes, it is laced with cinnamon and vanilla while these pancakes get their sweetness from a little honey.

Gluten-Free Pancakes from MomAdvice.com.When I first discovered that I had to go gluten-free, my best friend recommended a book called, “Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.” (affiliate link) I treated myself to the cookbook for Christmas and loved that the author relied upon one all-purpose mix to make almost all of her recipes.

I placed my first order for Better Batter after reading it and started testing recipes with this cup-for-cup substitute shortly after buying it. None of us could believe how good everything had tasted and with very little adjustments in our favorite family recipes.

I immediately wrote the company and asked if they might be interested in a partnership. I truly believe in their product and how it can help beginner gluten-free chefs overcome their difficulties with baking. Not only did they send me some products for our recipes, but they also are offering valuable coupon codes for our readers to try their flour too.

Not only does the flour perform well, but it is much more affordable than other flours on the market. You can even buy their product in bulk to snag additional savings.

What are the Ingredients In This Flour?

The flour I have featured today is an an all-purpose flour substitute that you can use as a cup-for-cup substitute in your recipes. The packaging states that it contains: Rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, potato flour, xanthan gum, and pectin (lemon derivative). It is the blend of these flours that makes it such a great performer in baking recipes. I hope that helps!

How Can I Save Money On This Flour?

I truly believe you will love this flour and am so excited that Better Batter is sharing some coupon codes with our readers to help them save even more. This month you can use the coupon code XNF6EBYK4JRT for $8 off ANY SIZE ORDER.

That’s right, I said ANY SIZE! 

I hope you can take advantage of the savings and can enjoy a stack of these delicious pancakes in your home!

Gluten-Free Pancakes from MomAdvice.com.

Gluten-Free Pancakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
You won’t even miss the gluten with this delicious pancake recipe. Be sure to double your recipe so you can enjoy these all week long!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Better Batter All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons flax (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten & at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2½ cups milk (or milk substitute)
Instructions
  1. Heat your griddle or nonstick pan and coat generously with butter.
  2. In a large bowl, place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, flax, cinnamon, and salt in and whisk to combine.
  3. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the eggs, butter and milk, one at a time, blending well after each addition. Add vanilla and honey and continue to mix until the batter comes together and there are no lumps.
  4. Working quickly, ladle the pancake batter on the griddle surface, and allow to sit until bubbles begin to appear on the surface (2 to 3 minutes). Flip and continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the underside is browned.
  5. Remember that your batter thickens as it stands and may require more milk to keep your batter in a pourable consistency.
  6. Serve with fresh fruit and maple syrup.

 

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How to Find & Write Pen Pals

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

How to Find & Write Pen Pals

Pen Pals are a beautiful thing in a digital age where pen, paper, the process of writing, and waiting are so hard in our fast moving culture. Today I wanted to share about our experience with finding and writing pen pals that I hope will inspire you to find a pen pal of your own for your child after hearing about our experience.

How to Find & Write Pen Pals How to Find & Write Pen Pals How to Find & Write Pen Pals

Walmart challenged me to come up with a fun Spring Break activity for kids and finding a pen pal for my children is something that I have thought a lot about doing. We found items in their office supplies section like writing tablets (for big and small children), pretty note cards, and freshly sharpened pencils. With these arsenal of tools, we are now ready to begin a new adventure for our kids.

How Do You Find a Pen Pal?

Finding a pen pal is oh-so-easy thanks to social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I posted on my Facebook page that we were looking for children in our child’s age range that did not live in the United States to be pen pals with. Within minutes, we had many people replying about friends and family that lived in other countries with kids just around our age.

Of course, if finding someone living out of the states is harder to come by in your inner circle, consider just finding families that live in other parts of the United States. A child shivering in the polar vortex of Indiana, for example, might find a child’s life in Florida or California quite inspiring!

How to Find & Write Pen Pals How to Find & Write Pen Pals How to Find & Write Pen Pals How to Find & Write Pen Pals How to Find & Write Pen Pals How to Find & Write Pen Pals

Encourage Your Child to Craft a Great Letter

Writing letters not only improves our vocabulary and spelling, but it also helps teach children about the give and take of conversation.

Talk with your child about crafting a great introduction about themselves and how to weave in questions to find out more about their new pen pal. When my daughter asked me if her pen pal had glasses, I told her that this would be a great question to ask her so she could look forward to her response.

How to Find & Write Pen Pals How to Find & Write Pen Pals

Have Your Child Explore Their Pen Pal’s Town

It is easier than ever to learn more about where someone else lives thanks to Google’s Street View and Wikipedia. Although there was no street view for our pen pal, who resides in Greece, we were able to take a peek at pictures of landmark items in her country and read facts about where she lived.

Knowing information like this helps to build those initial letters as you get to know more about each other.

How to Find & Write Pen Pals How to Find & Write Pen Pals How to Find & Write Pen Pals How to Find & Write Pen Pals How to Find & Write Pen Pals

Send Your Letters Off

Once we were done writing our letter, we got to practice addressing an envelope and then added a few decorative touches to the back of our envelope for our new friend.

Although we ran our letter out to our mailbox at home, a great Spring Break activity might be to take that letter to the post office and make it feel even more, “official,” when sending it.

Now we must wait patiently for our response from our new friend and when she writes back, it will be a happy day, indeed!

How to Find & Write Pen Pals

I hope this inspires you to find a few pen pals of your own. And as double inspiration, here is my childhood pen pal. We met at church camp and became best friends through our letters back and forth. I remember that sweet anticipation of the mail dropping through the mail slot of our home and ripping them open to read, then reread, then reread again the precious words from my friend. 25 whopping years later, she is still my best friend for life.

I already told Emily to save her money and hopefully she will have a friend like that in her pen pal who she can visit someday! You just never know- we certainly never did! I shall be very jealous of her trips to Greece, should that happen!

Here’s a little video we put together of Emily’s first pen pal letter! I hope you enjoy it and I would love to hear if you had a pen pal and what they meant to you?

 

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DIY Shamrock Shake Recipe (And Free Straw Printables)

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

DIY Shamrock Shake Recipe (And Free Straw Printables)

DIY Shamrock Shake Recipe (And Free Straw Printables)

DIY Shamrock Shake Recipe (And Free Straw Printables)

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner!  This holiday makes me want to indulge in one of my all-time favorite treats… the oh-so-delicious Shamrock Shake. You don’t have to swing by your local fast food joint to indulge though because I have the recipe to this one and you can indulge in it for a fun family night treat any night of the week.

To grab the recipe for these easy DIY Shamrock Shakes, head on over to the Kenmore Blog to read all about these delicious treat.

Don’t forget to grab your free St. Patrick’s Day straw printables! Happy St. Patrick’s Day, friends!

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Gluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Gluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup from MomAdvice.com

Going gluten-free is proving to be a fun adventure for me in the kitchen. This gluten-free chicken noodle soup recipe is just one example of an old family favorite that has been transformed into a delicious gluten-free version.

This week Walmart challenged me to create a great cold weather dish that you could create from items they have at their store. One of my favorite things to create with their ingredients is a weekly batch of soup. Not only is it the perfect cold weather dish, but it is the perfect “convenience food,” that I love to have on hand for nights when I don’t feel like cooking.

Gluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup from MomAdvice.com

One item that I buy frequently there is their rotisserie chickens for all of my chicken-filled soups. It saves me some cooking time and I find that they bring a lot of flavor to my easy weeknight soups. They are priced at $4.98, which is about the same price as buying a whole chicken and cooking it from scratch, so I find it to be a good soup investment.

Gluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup from MomAdvice.com

My biggest challenge has been finding a pasta that tastes like my old familiar white-floured starchy friend. We have sampled every variety of noodles under the son from corn blends to quinoa blends to rice blends. When I posted on Instagram that I was still on the hunt, Tinkyada was the brand that fellow gluten-free friends recommended. Friends, let me tell you, this was the closest pasta I have ever tasted to the real deal. The best part is that it is strongly made so it can withstand being reheated, unlike the other blends that fell apart in my soup.

I had been hunting for this in the pasta aisle at our store, but it is not in the pasta aisle. This pasta is over with the other gluten-free specialty foods, on the end of one of the candy aisles in our store. A pound of this was $2.87, while the fancier and not as appetizing pastas, were costing me over $4 and did not contain a pound.

For a pasta-filled soup, you only need half the bag (or approximately two cups of pasta). Since everything seems to cost an arm and leg if it is marked gluten-free, this is a pasta we all loved AND didn’t cost a fortune! Winning, I say!

Gluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup from MomAdvice.comGluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup from MomAdvice.comGluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup from MomAdvice.com

To me, this looks like the perfect bowl of soup. I thought I would never have a good chicken noodle soup again after this gluten-free debacle of mine, but I am mourning the loss of my soup no more.

It is the ultimate cold weather comfort food dish! I hope you enjoy this one as much as we have!

Gluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A gluten-free chicken noodle soup that is the ultimate cold weather comfort food dish. One pot serves many, so share this with someone in need!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Tinkyada Rice Pasta Elbows
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 12 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
  2. Add gluten-free elbows and cook 12-14 minutes. Drain and rinse with water. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or Dutch oven, saute the carrots and celery in two tablespoons of olive oil for five minutes to start your soup base. Add garlic at the end (to prevent burning)
  4. Add your rotisserie chicken and any drippings form the chicken to the pot, directly on top of your vegetables. Pour your chicken broth directly over the chicken to incorporate all of the good flavors.
  5. Heat up broth and bring it to a simmer.
  6. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
  7. Pull out your chicken and set aside to dice.
  8. Stir in noodles and diced rotisserie chicken, and heat through.
  9. Toss in a handful of fresh chopped parsley and ladle into bowls.

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Gluten-Free Olympic Doughnuts

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Gluten-Free Olympic Doughnuts from MomAdvice.com.

If there is one thing you know our family loves it is doughnuts. In honor of the upcoming Olympics, I am sharing a delicious gluten-free baked doughnut recipe that you can bake up as a treat for those opening ceremonies. This gluten-free doughnut recipe is as easy to put together as our other wonderful doughnut recipes and are so fun to decorate for the holiday.

Today’s project is sponsored by Walmart. Almost everything you need for this project can be found at their store!

Gluten-Free Olympic Doughnuts from MomAdvice.com.

One thing you will need to create these doughnuts is a doughnut pan. When I first started baking doughnuts, you had to order an item like this online and through specialty shops. Now you can find it right on the shelves at Walmart, in the same aisle as your cookie sheets & baking pans. The price on their Wilton doughnut pans is $7.19.  I have two of them because most recipes yield 10-12 doughnuts and it saves me time in the kitchen. These two pans have paid for themselves over and over again for our occasional sweet weekend treat!

Because I am new to gluten-free baking, I am using a gluten-free all-purpose mix to save me time in the kitchen. I bought a batch of Better Batter for my pantry and I have found that it is yielding impressive results for all of my baking needs. Buying it online from the company in bulk has saved me some money and storage in my pantry, thanks to not needing to buy multiple flours to blend. The bonus is that this mix does contain the Xanthan gum right in it. If your mix does not contain this, you will need to add that ingredient separately.

These doughnuts are light, fluffy, & sweet. The first things my kids remarked on was the spice in them. Although there is just a pinch of nutmeg, this ingredient really pulls through in the doughnut. For non-Olympic doughnut events, a sprinkle of powdered sugar on these is a delightful morning treat.

Gluten_Free_Baked_Olympic_Doughnuts-5

To make your Olympic-themed glazes, I simply made one batch of my favorite glaze and then added food coloring to each dish to reach the desired color. To achieve your black, if you are just working with a standard set of food colorings, equal portions of blue, yellow, and red will help achieve the color you are after.

Gluten_Free_Baked_Olympic_Doughnuts-4 Looking For More Fun Ideas to Celebrate the Olympics? Let’s take a peek at some more fun (and frugal!) ideas!

Fun Ways to Celebrate the Olympics

Olympic Medal Cookies

What could be sweeter than receiving an Olympic medal? How about an Olympic Medal filled with a cookie? AlphaMom offers this sweet little Olympic craft to do with your little ones. Stumped for a cookie idea?  I highly recommend an Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Sea Salt Cookie for your medal filling!

Olympic T-Shirts

Dress up a white t-shirt to dress up for the Olympic games. with a simple painted ring pattern on an inexpensive thrift store shirt, this is a craft that is easy enough to do with kids of all ages. Kate’s Creative Space offers this fun craft idea to her readers to celebrate the games.

DIY Olympic Torch

What child doesn’t dream of carrying around their very own Olympic torch. Hoosier Homemade showcases a fun craft that you can do to create your very own Olympic torch made from some commonly found items at your local craft store.

Olympics Party Fun

Why not throw a party for your family or for a group of families to celebrate the Olympics? A Small Snippet has you covered with everything from patriotic foods to great Olympic game ideas to play together, to fun ideas for decorations that don’t cost a lot.

 Olympic Torches Made From Recyclables

If hitting your craft store for supplies to make an Olympic torch isn’t in your budget, this Olympic Torch from The Idea Room is made from common items you have in your home and recyclables. These torches are made from a paper plate, a paper towel roll, and red & gold tissue paper. This is one that even the smallest child can do. Be sure to lift these high and participate in your own round of fun family Olympic games.

Olympic Rings Necklace

Even moms can jump in on the Olympic excitement with this cute craft, from Remarkably Domestic, for an Olympic Rings Necklace. This necklace is made from simple rings covered in Chinese knotting cord to create those Olympic rings everyone loves so much. This would be a fun craft to do while watching your favorite games this year!

However you celebrate the Olympic games this year, I hope this post inspires you for your Olympic game watching!

Gluten-Free Olympic Doughnuts
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
These gluten-free doughnuts are so easy to make and can be a fun snack to share while watching the opening ceremony this year!
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups all-purpose gluten-free powder (I recommend Better Batter Flour)
  • 1 cup sugar (next time I may adjust to ¾ cup sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla, butter, or almond extract
  • Betty Crocker Food Coloring Set (over in the baking aisle)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º and spray two nonstick 6-cavity doughnut pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the oil and milk until smooth; add to the flour mixture and whisk until combined.
  4. Spoon the batter into 10 cavities of the prepared doughnut pans until about three-quarters full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a doughnut comes out clean.
  5. Let the doughnuts cool.
  6. In a bowl, mix together the confectioners sugar, hot water, and flavoring. Divide the glaze into five bowls and create your colors for the doughnuts. Dip or spoon the glaze over the doughnuts and allow the glaze to harden.

 

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Valentine’s Day Cupcake Liner Trees

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Valentine's Day Cupcake Liner Trees from MomAdvice.com.

I’m so excited to share with you this easy DIY craft project for Cupcake Liner Trees for Valentine’s Day. These cupcake liner trees are unbelievably cute and fast to create.

I had so much fun creating our yarn trees this winter that I just knew I needed to recreate the magic for Valentine’s Day.  If you have a mantle or coffee table that could use some festive décor, then you will love this easy and inexpensive project. All you need are $10 in materials and you will have two festive trees in less than thirty minutes. Now that is a craft that I can get behind.

Head on over to the Kenmore Blog to find out how to make these easy DIY Valentine’s Day Cupcake Liner Trees!

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Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com

It’s been a long time since I have shared some pictures of our home. I have been in the thick of organizing my craft room and today I wanted to share with you some ideas for organizing your own craft space in your home.

For my part on the Walmart craft team, they requested that I tackle a craft project. I made a special request that I could share with you today my organized craft space and see if I could find any fun additions to my space at their store and they agreed. So today instead of crafting it up, I am showing off what I have been up to in my space.

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com

Let’s start from the very beginning. Three years ago, this was our space that I envisioned turning into our office space. We have a tri-level home, now lovingly called a quad now that we finished this fourth level, and this was what we started with. This space was where we threw our stuff that we didn’t know what to deal with. We had to majorly declutter and we had to save enough cash to make the updates to our home. We were able to accomplish both (loan free!) and create the space I had been dreaming of.

I am starting with this picture to show you that maybe there is an area in your home that could be your special space and you just don’t know it. Maybe it just requires a fresh eye, a bit of decluttering, and a few smart craft solutions to carve a space just for you.

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com

Here is my craft and office space today. When I post these types of pictures, people ask me where I found certain things. Here are some of the things you will find in my space.

Floral Chairs- Found at a local Value City (no longer available-sadness)!

Green Side Table- A side table we owned, but spray painted & distressed

Owl Lamp & Burlap Lamp Shade-  Walmart

Record Table- Thrift Shop Find Stained & Painted

Swivel Metal Stool- Home Decorators

Knitted Leaf Centerpiece- Handmade

Everyday I’m Hustling Pillow- Michelle Dwight Designs

Record Frames- H&M

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com

Crafting and organization do not go hand in hand for me.  I spent a good month getting this room organized and trying to figure out the best solutions for my space. Here are some of the solutions I found inexpensively at Walmart.

Glass Jars- I had all of my craft supplies tucked away in baskets. This meant I spent a lot of time digging through baskets and trying to figure out where I tucked all my crafting odds & ends. Glass jars truly helps me visualize what I have and where it is. I found the smaller jars for just $4.97 and my giant 2 gallon glass jar is the perfect home for my ribbon collection (priced at $9.97).

Clear Clipboards- As a craft blogger, I always have a running to-do list for my site and craft projects. I utilized this to-do list printable (previously featured in our DIY Homework stations) and mounted them on these clear clipboards ($3.88)  with 3M hooks ($3.67) on my wall. I also have my favorite Mead Wall Calendar I buy every year to keep track of when all my projects are due ($7.97).

Metal Bins- Over in the closet solutions, I found a metal tub that I could use to organize my knitting needles. When you start really building up your knitting needle collection, you may have four or more different sizes of the same size needle. I was constantly digging through baskets to find the right needles. I decided to use manilla envelopes and label them #0-15 and then put my needles for each size in these envelopes. This saves me tons of time hunting for the right needles and makes it easy to see what I might need to buy. I put all of these in this metal tub ($9.74) and it is on top of my newly organized craft cart.

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com

Two things we purchased to finish out my crafting space was a crafting table and a crafting cart that I could roll out into the middle of our office when I needed to do my crafting. We found this Martha Stewart Collapsible Crafting Table & Crafting Cart on Home Decorators. If you are struggling with a small space, this is a dream come true. You can fold down one side if your space is small or open it all the way out if you need a large surface to work on.

This space also doubles as an indoor photography studio when the weather isn’t cooperating. I have my photography backdrops stored in the gift wrap center and can really spread my work out, if I need to on this space.

I spent an entire weekend whittling down my craft supplies to what I truly needed in my craft cart. I now everything I need right at my fingertips. I had to keep reassuring myself that it was okay to part with some of my craft supplies. If it hadn’t been used in the last year, it was definitely something that could be donated to free up precious space in my craft cart.

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.comAs you can see, I can wheel them over to corners in our office so they don’t get in the way. I am so thankful for these smart solutions for our space. I am also thankful that I finally feel organized in this space.

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.com

And as a good old-fashioned reminder that all good things should be enjoyed in moderation, I found this old-fashioned closed sign over in the office supplies at Walmart ($1.97). I mounted a 3M clip upside down and hooked it on the back of my computer. This now offers an in-my-face reminder of how I should be spending my evenings.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my craft space! Feel free to ask me any questions and I promise to try to help!

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8 Beautifully Frugal Valentine’s Day Projects

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

8 Beautifully Frugal Valentine's Day Projects from MomAdvice.com.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and one of my favorite things to share here on the Goodwill Tips Blog is frugal ways to celebrate the holidays using items from your local Goodwill Store. You may have thought last year’s DIY Valentine’s Day Projectspost couldn’t be topped, but I think today’s projects are going to rival all that I shared last year. The best part is that they are both beautiful AND frugal- a total win for my wallet and my home!

Let’s get started with this year’s featured projects! Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog to find out how to recreate all of these fun ideas!

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Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

 

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so I wanted to share a fun recipe for Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies that you could create as a fun treat to give or to share with those you love.

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.comGluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.comGluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Walmart asked me to create a Valentine’s Day treat with one of their exclusive products they carry. Since I am such a big M&M fan, I decided to use their Red Velvet M&M’s in my recipe.

Do you ever have a really hard time with a recipe and then later wonder if it had ever been tested? That was the case with this project from start to finish. These cookies were supposed to be simple and straightforward, but the recipe ended up being written completely wrong. Thankfully for you, I spent a whole day figuring out what went wrong with this one and how we can fix it so that you can have an awesome baking day!

Please read this post carefully, I am offering you a load of tips for a successful baking day!! 

Are M&M’s Gluten-Free?

Let’s begin with the question, are M&M’s gluten-free? The answer is that most M&M’s are gluten-free. In fact, most of the varieties they typically carry, other than their pretzel variety, are gluten-free.

What I found with the Red Velvet M&M’s though are that they are gluten-free, but in high times of production, like Halloween & Valentine’s Day, Mars uses alternative facilities to make its candy and some of those may introduce cross-contamination risks. These Red Velvet M&M’s are ones that could have been cross-contaminated. If this is of high concern, look for the plain M&M’s, preferably mini-M&M’s to help your dough hold up better. 

It is always important to read your labels carefully and know that Mars Chocolate always promises to call out any wheat, barley, and rye ingredients by name, as well as any cross-contamination risks on their labels. I recommend this information page for finding which Valentine’s Day candies are safe to eat.

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.comGluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Tips for a Successful Dough

As, I am a big fan of the Betty Crocker cake mixes, I used this to create my cookies.  As you can see when I mixed the ingredients together, this dough is very crumbly. To help make this dough really hold and stick together, add 3-4 teaspoons of water to the dough, until it really comes together. This will help when slicing your sugar cookie rolls.

The recipe that was written did not add this to the dough and so when I sliced them, the cookie dough crumbled. I had to add my water later and chill them again for another three hours. Once I sliced with the liquid addition, the dough held much better.

If you need these cookies to be dairy-free as well as gluten-free, please read the notes in the recipe on how you can create these without the butter.

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Tips for a Successful Sugar Cookie Log

One more thing, I learned while creating this cookies is that it is better to make your sugar cookie roll WITHOUT the M&M’s in it and then add them to your cookies after so you can get beautifully clean slices.

Trying to cut through these Red Velvet M&M’s was a real challenge so I would encourage adding them after or just doing these cookies as a drop cookie. To do a sugar cookie roll, as pictured above with M&M’s, seek the mini varieties. Again, read the packaging carefully to insure that they are safe for eating.

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Wrap your sugar cookie roll in wax paper and chill for three hours or more. Once you are ready to bake off your cookies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and then slice them and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet or a well-greased cookie sheet. I prefer parchment paper, both for the ease of clean-up and how beautifully these cookies will set up.

Allow these to cool and then transfer. These cookies are very delicate in texture so you will want to give them plenty of time to set up. 

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.com

What Do They Taste Like?

These cookies are so delicious that you will NEVER know that they are gluten-free. The dough is so flavorful and the healthy dose of vanilla in the batter makes these taste like a cookie dough that you truly slaved over. The addition of the candies adds that yummy chocolate flavor that I think every good cookie should have.

With these helpful tips, I hope you will have a successful baking day and hope that this easy treat idea will help as you plan your own Valentine’s Day treats this year!

Can I Freeze These?

Cookies can be frozen! It is recommended that you wrap them in aluminum foil or in a resealable plastic bag for up to one month. Let the cookies thaw on the kitchen counters overnight before serving.

What Other Ways Can I Spice Up These Cookies?

If you can’t have chocolate, there are many other ways you can spice these easy cookies up.

Add Sprinkles- Lightly beat one egg white and brush the tops of your cookies with it, then sprinkle with gluten-free sugar sprinkles.

Add Zest- Add 1 teaspoon of grated lemon, orange, or key lime zest

Switch Your Extract- Try a different extract in your dough like almond or butter

Make It Spicy- Add a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon, or dust the tops with the egg white & a cinnamon & sugar combo.

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen
 
Cake mix cookies that can be gluten-free and dairy-free for a fun treat to share for any holiday.
Ingredients
  • 1 package (15 ounces) yellow gluten-free cake mix
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter- if dairy-free replace with vegetable shortening, MELTED
  • 1 large egg
  • 3-4 teaspoons warm water, just until you see your dough pull together
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup M&M’s or read the post for other ways to spice up these cookies
Instructions
  1. Place the cake mix, butter (or vegetable shortening), egg, water, and vanilla in your mixing bowl and beat on low speed until well-combined.
  2. Using a spatula fold in the M&M’s (if mini-sized) or reserve to press these into each cookie after they have been cut (if large-sized)
  3. Place the cookie dough on a sheet of wax paper and then press with your hands to form a long,approximately 12 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Tightly roll the dough and chill it in the refrigerator for at least three hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets well or cover these in parchment paper.
  5. Unwrap the dough and transfer to a cutting board and slice them in ¼-3/8″ slices.
  6. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake until the cookies are lightly browned on the edges,7-10 minutes.
  7. Let the cookies fully cool before transferring.

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Have you ever made gluten-free cake mix cookies? Do you have any tips for beginning gluten-free bakers on ways to increase success with cake mix cookies?

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