a view from the laundry pile…

…it's all about perspective.

Darn Good, Gluten-Free Cheesy Crackers!

There’s nothing better with a piping hot bowl of homemade soup than a handful of crackers. However, being on my “gluten-free” quest, I’ve not really found any store-bought crackers that I’m really crazy about. So, poking around the internet, I did a search and found this recipe on MyFieldsofGreen blogspot (link below). The only change I made was the cornstarch (I didn’t have any) and swapped it out with a half & half of potato and tapioca starches.

crackeraIngredients:

  • 8 oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 4 Tbs. cold, cubed Butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt (plus more to sprinkle on the top)
  • 3/4 cup Sweet Rice Flour (not to be confused with regular rice flour)
  • 1/8 cup Potato Starch
  • 1/8 cup Tapioca Starch
  • 1/2 tsp. Xantham Gum*
  • 2 Tbs. cold Water

*The original recipe says you can leave this out – but I wouldn’t. If you’re already baking GF, you probably have some on hand. If this is new to you, this is what replaces the gluten that holds “regular” flours, like wheat, together. It can be found in many grocery and health-food stores.

Directions:

  1. Place all the dry ingredients in a food processor and mix until they’re all combined.
  2. Drizzle the water in until it comes together into a dough
  3. Chill the dough (10 minutes in the freezer or 30 in the refrigerator).
  4. Roll out the dough as thin as possible (I do it in “batches”).
  5. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut into squares.
  6. Place the squares, about 1/2″ apart, on a non-stick cookie sheet or flat pan.
  7. Prick the top of each one with a fork (this will help them cook flat).
  8. Sprinkle with Salt.
  9. Bake at 350F for 7 minutes, then turn the pan around, and cook another 7 minutes (this helps with any oven variances) — or until golden brown on the edges.
  10. Cool on a wire cookie rack.

 (While I really don’t think these taste like Cheez-Its, they really are a darn good (gluten-free) cheesy cracker!)

Here’s the link to MyFieldsofGreen in case you’d like to check out any of her other recipes! http://myfieldsofgreen.blogspot.com/2011/10/homemade-gluten-free-cheez-it-crackers.html

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“Heeeeere’s Reaper!”

Fred really is the perfect husband. Okay, maybe not for everyone but, for me, he sure is. I don’t know how many hair-brained ideas I’ve come up with and, even though I get an occasional “have you hit your head?” or eye roll, he’s never said “no” to any of them. The latest one, that I casually mentioned over breakfast a couple of weeks ago, was “I want to build this” and showed him a picture of my 8′ Grim Reaper. His response (ladies prepare to be totally  jealous of me) was “I’m off on Thursday so we can go get the stuff for it then.” What a guy, right?

I got the idea from the Grim Hallow website (thank you!) and adapted it to suit a limited budget and supplies already on hand. So, while Fred was making a frame from leftover 2×2’s, I constructed the “hands” out of wire coat hangers, paper towels, and duct tape. I started with a general shape, using the bent coat hangers (I used 1-1/2 hangers per hand) for the “bones.” I taped on wadded up paper towels to give the palms and knuckles some shape, then covered the rest of the hands with duct tape.

grim 8 hands

When the frame was done, I used pieces of chicken wire to get rid of the “square” look of  the wood. I used a staple gun to hold the chicken wire in place then just covered the whole thing in duct tape. )You could certainly skip the tape but I wanted to see where I needed to add more “bulk” so, for me, it was the right thing to do).

grim 7 tape over wire

grim 4

Originally, I was going to use paper mache with glue, water, & paper towels (I like paper towels better than newspapers — it’s easier to shape and mold) but I found that we had some leftover “casting” material from another project (yes, the stuff you use on broken limbs. What? Like no one else has this in their arts and crafts box?) so I used that instead, plus it dries much quicker. The head is a carveable foam pumpkin head measuring about 17″ high (though they come in different sizes and are available at many craft stores). I attached a piece of foam (the top of another styrofoam mannequin head) to the top of the “neck” with duct tape to steady the head (works well!).  

grim 2 cast with head

Once the casting was good and dry, I painted it. I started with a flat black then added some greens and browns. At one point it was a bit too “camo” for me so I added some more black. However, I didn’t realize that the new can of paint I grabbed was shiny black. Fortunately, I really liked the look so I left it.  I then clear coated the whole thing to help keep some of the Pac NW rain off while he was lingering in the garden…oh, I mean “spooky cemetery.”

grim 1 painted(Yes, that’s “little Frank” holding down the plastic tarp…ha ha!).

grim 10 by garage

 

Once he was painted, I carved the head, added a little black paint for “effect” and he was ready to go. Now it’s Fred’s turn to be wonderful again and get everything lit up! I’ll make sure to post night shots…

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