Friday, July 25, 2014

gluten free blueberry crumb pie + our 5th cooks in the kitchen challenge...

Hi friend!

Welcome to another month of Elah Tree and my Cooks in the Kitchen Challenge! Goodness we've come a long way, haven't we? Guess what? After today's link-up, there are only 2 more link-ups left! So if you've been putting off joining the fun, now is certainly the time! 

Cooks in the Kitchen is an opportunity to meet new bloggers, readers, friends; and COOK. We provide you with your main ingredient to cook with, then you have the rest of that month to scour through your recipes and find the perfect one. Then, at the end of the month, we will have a link up on both of our blogs where you can submit your recipe and blog post of your cooking creation and see how others tackled the same main ingredient. Super fun.

This month's ingredient was BLUEBERRIES! I have to be honest, I don't cook or bake with blueberries enough. I don't know why, I have no aversion to them...I just don't. I'll go for some strawberries or raspberries before I'll grab a box of blueberries. Totally glad this month's challenge included the fruit because it really stretched my baking comfort zone. So happy to have had an opportunity to bake with them! When cooked they take on the richest darkened hue of purple-blue and their flavors deepen as well...just gorgeous! 

I'm loving the contrast between Samantha's recipe and mine! One recipe calls for the fruit uncooked and one cooked! One recipe is light and healthy (score!) and the sweet and filled with good ol butter. Let's say it all together now, "MmMmMmmmm buttttteeeeeeeeeerrrrrrr..." Hehehe. I am SUCH a fan of smoothies right now (like don't even get me started) so I will absolutely be making Samantha's Blueberry Oatmeal Smoothie in the next few days. It sounds amazzzzzzing!

This pie was inspired by a friend of mine, who had just delivered a baby a few weeks ago. Being gluten free, she complained to me one night about how she hasn't had a slice of pie in "forever". I was amazed! With all the amazing gluten free flours out there, I was sure someone had made her a pie in the past. Nope. No one had. AND, pie was her favorite dessert in all the land. Blueberry pie to be exact. 

So, I accepted that challenge and decided that I would try my hand at gluten free pie making and bake that poor girl a blueberry crumb pie as a little "welcome baby" present. Also because everyone needs a whole pie to yourself sometimes. Especially if you just delivered a little one!

Babies and pies...they just like, go together...or something.

Makes 1 (8") pie
For printable recipe, click here

For the gluten free crust:
  • 1 1/4 cups cold gluten free flour (I used and loved Cup 4 Cup brand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure cane sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • +/-1/4 cup ice cold water

For the gluten free blueberry filling:
  • 2 (12oz) bags frozen blueberries (no sugar added, just fruit), completely defrosted in fridge overnight
  • 1/3 heaping cup pure cane sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons gluten free flour (again, I used Cup 4 Cup brand)
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the gluten free crumb topping:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1 cup gluten free flour (again, I used Cup 4 Cup brand)
  • pinch of sea salt

*Results may vary depending on the type of gluten free flour used. Make sure you know and love your gluten free flour well. I recommend using Cup 4 Cup for best results. 

To make the crust:

1. In your food processor add the flour, salt and sugar. Pulse until combined. Next, add in the cubed butter and pulse until a crumb starts to form with pea sized chunks.

2. While pulsing continuously, slowly add in your ice cold water. Depending on the weather that day you might need 1/4 cup, you might need a little more or even a little less. As soon as the crust starts to clump together and form into dough, you're done. Do not over mix OR add too much water. You want crust to clump and hold together when you squeeze between fingers.

3. Flour a counter with more gluten free flour. Add dough to surface and bring together with your hands. Gently and quickly form into a disk without kneading and then roll out until 1/4" thick. 

4. Carefully roll dough around your rolling pin, bring over your pie pan, and unroll across the top. This is the best way to make sure crust doesn't rip or tear. If it does do so, simply pinch back together :) Here is a great tutorial for what I mean.

5. Cut off excess, leaving a little overhang. Excess dough can be baked and turned into snacks! Next, fold that overhang under itself so that you have a nice smooth edged crust and crimp as you see fit. Here are some fun and easy examples of how you can decorate your crust.

6. Place dough in the fridge to chill and rest for 30 minutes.

While dough is resting, preheat oven to 425°F and make the gluten free blueberry filling:

1. In a large bowl, add your defrosted frozen blueberries, the juice that collected in blueberry bag as well, sugar, flour, vanilla and lemon juice. Mix together until completely combined and all flour lumps are gone.

2. Set filling into the fridge to chill. 

While that is chilling, make the gluten free crumb topping:

1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until a crumb forms with pea sized chunks.


You can also do this by hand in a large bowl with a fork or pastry cutter. Just work the butter into the sugar, flour and salt until crumbs form. 

Set aside.

Now let's put everything together:

1. Carefully add blueberry filling to your chilled pie crust. Make sure to scrape the bowl.

2. Cover entire surface of filling with your crumb mixture. Pile it on there and make sure surface is a nice even layer. If there is any crumb mix left over, store in fridge in an air tight container for up to a week or in the freezer for months!

3. Place pie on a tin foil lined baking sheet and bake in the center of your preheated oven for 15 minutes. 

If your crust starts to brown quicker than your filling is cooking, you can cover the crust with a handy pie crust shield, like this one to help protect the surface while it continues to bake. Or you can carefully cover edges with tin foil.

4. Once the 15 minutes is up, turn heat down to 350°F and bake pie another hour more, or until topping is golden brown and filling is gently bubbling and puffed. Make sure to turn pan half way through baking to ensure even baking and browning.

Remove and allow to sit on baking sheet until cool to the touch. Then remove and allow to cool completely and set up, before serving.

Pie crust recipe ©SweetLavenderBakeShoppe
Filling and crumb recipe adapted from

PS- how adorable are those red ceramic measuring spoons?! I just received them a little while ago AND AM IN LOVE WITH THEM! Sheesh.

Now it's your turn! Share your blueberry creations with us! I love how every month we have so many different recipes, I can't wait to see what you share with us.

1. Link-Up your Cooks in the Kitchen post below. Please link to the post and not your home page.

2. Be encouraging. Comment on the post before you and tell them how awesome they are!

3. Hashtag your creations #cooksinthekitchen2014

Our next Cooks in the Kitchen link-up
Friday, August 22nd: Tomatoes
Follow along : Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest Bloglovin Google+

If you are indeed participating in our challenge, would you be so kind as to grab a button/ badge and display it on your blog for all to see?

grab button for elah tree

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If you haven't heard, right now if you use code SUMMALOVING upon purchasing an ad spot, you will receive 20% off! Hurry! This discount is good only through the end of the month!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

things I'm loving right now // etsy loves // blogger edition...

Dear friend,

With today's installment of Etsy finds, I thought I would change it up a bit and showcase some of my blogger friends' loves! There are so many amazing artists out there and Etsy is the perfect place to find them all under "one roof". You're sure to find handmade, one-of-a-kind gifts your friends and family will love as well as special things for yourself. Sometimes I find myself on there for hours just ooooogling over all the amazing finds! 

Let's see what other bloggers are loving right now...

"As most people know, I am obsessed with all things Disney and everything animated. Samantha from Elah Tree actually just introduced me to Brittney Lee, who is a concept artist for Disney! Ahhhhhh! As in, she has worked on Frozen and Tangled and many, many other projects. I have been drooling over her blog and her etsy shop over the past week. This would be my dream job if I had the moolah to go back to art school! Until then, I'll just be stalking Brittney's blog and watching lots of Disney movies. :) I love this dreamy coffee shop print. It just looks like the perfect morning!"

"Etsy is one of my favorite places to find unique gifts, items and inspiration. There is always something amazing to find. Recently, I've been loving all the soaps and soap dishes, not sure why, it's probably because I think they are pretty.  I have been swooning over a homemade soap and ceder soap dish I found. I just think it's lovely."

"I am loving my new necklace from Mia Earrings! :)"

"I've been loving the jewelry you can find on Etsy. It's high quality and so unique! One of the shops I love is Moulton, based here in Austin. She designed the earrings for my bridesmaids and they were beautiful!"

"Sheesh, where do I start? I'm smitten over so many etsy shops lately. Since the day my little one came into the world, it seems as though my camera was attached to my face. Now as she has moved into toddler-hood, she has become more interested in how the camera works and looking at photos of herself after each snap of the shutter. What better way to help bring out the mini photographer in her, than to present her with her very own mini camera! These little cuties are handcrafted out of pine wood, painted with simple and soft colors and the perfect size and shape for my toddler's little grip. Now she can have her own little photo sessions and embrace her imaginative/creative side."

What are some Etsy finds you're loving right now? If you haven't heard, right now if you use code SUMMALOVING upon purchasing an ad spot, you will receive 20% off! Hurry! This discount is good only through the end of the month!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

apricot jam...

I've decided that I would really like to try and slow things down this summer.

Remember when we were kids? Summer meant sleeping in, taking it slow with as little responsibilities as possible, and having fun. We had the right idea. Now of course, being an adult is A LOT different than a kid and there are just some things we can't do (like sleep in until 11 every day) or have to do (like unfortunately, work...) I get that and I'm fine with that. This is exactly the season of life the Lord has me in and I'm extremely thankful for it.

That being said, I would still like to take this summer, with it's longer days and warmer nights, and really breathe it all in and enjoy myself. Take more walks. Go to the beach more. Be out in nature as frequently as possible. Hang out with family more. Hang out with family longer. Go on (free-ish) dates with my husband more. Get off the computer. Get my head up and off of my phone. Talk to friends more. Hang out with friends and do things like drink tea and make delicious foods. Like the day I hung out with my friend and made homemade (homegrown) apricot jam.

That day guys...that day was magical.

Friday, July 11, 2014

buttery lemon shortbread bars...

Is it just me or do any of you keep tabs open on some sort of device FOREVER just to remind yourself you need to make something?

Yeah, yeah I know there's Pinterest, but honestly sometimes my pins get lost or forgotten after they are pinned. And seriously, sometimes there's a recipe I see that sounds and looks so good that it takes precedence over any and every recipe I've ever seen in life. Ever. (Hahaha)

Which means one thing...I'll sometimes have 4+ tabs open on my iPad that I can't close until I've tried out said recipe. My OCD brain hates when I do this. Hates opening up my internet browser only to have all these websites already staring at me as if they were saying, "What are you waiting for?? Pay attention to MEEEEEEE!" It wishes that I would find some other creative way to remind myself to "try THIS recipe" stat. It's so annoying. But I do it anyway. 

That being said, I'm so happy to be able to finally close one little tab. Ahhhh success, friends. It feels sooooo goooooood. One down, seventy five to go...Just kidding.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

a giveaway // ruffled paper...

There are few things I love more than cute and fun ways to decorate packages and goodies. No joke. Right now I have a drawer, sleeve of our desk AND giant box in our closet filled with adorable gift, goodie bag, package and snail mail decorating supplies. Like these botanical labels and stickers from Anthropologie. They're kind of my favorite. Every time I bake something special or send a letter I get super giddy because I get to choose "the perfect" added bling for that friend or what have you.

I once had a friend gift me with a box FULL of cute stickers, ribbon, twine, rubber stamps, kraft paper goodies, pens, markers and other amazing decorating gift supplies and I squealed an actual squeal upon opening. We were all also at a very fancy smancy place at said time. Sorry friends (not sorry). 

So when I had the opportunity to get some goodies from Ruffled Paper, I jumped on it! 

I mean, honestly. Look at all the amazing stuff they carry! From stationery to party supplies, invitations to shimmery baker's's a decorating freak like me's heaven on earth. I did end up grabbing some of that shimmer twine, in both gold and silver. I love the way it jazzes up simple wrapped packages and boxes of baked goods. I figure you can never have too much baker's twine. I want all the twine!

Something else you can never have too much of? Kraft paper bags and gold foil stickers. Like these gorgeous hearts. I use those bags for everything from gift card wrapping to cookie packaging (just tie closed with some twine or tape shut with washi tape or these heart stickers). They're perfect with a giant decorated sugar cookie or huge fresh baked chocolate chip cookie for a loved one, placed inside.

These heart stickers have been used to spruce up a snail mail envelope, leave a love note for the hubbie, seal things closed, and add just a tiny touch of fun to a kraft paper wrapped gift for a friend. I usually go on the "less is more" side of things and add just one or a few depending on the size of the package. These are also great to snazz up my bible study notebook ;)

Then there's the pièce de résistance- these adorable strawberry jam recipe cards. Maybe it's because it's summertime, maybe it's because berries (and strawberries at that!) are totally in season right now, or maybe it's because I also have a major slight obsession with recipe cards and all things mason jar...but I had to have these babies in my life. Like, haaaaaaaaaaaaad to. Guys, mason jars.

I'm so glad I did get them! They're SO DANG CUTE. They come printed nicely and on heavy cardstock paper and are ready for you to jot down all your favorite recipes, either for yourself or to give away to a friend. 

These all arrived in perfect condition, packaged all cute and dapper and with great timing too! A dear friend of mine, who just had a sweet little boy, needed gluten-free pie in her life pretty much right away. These cute decorative pieces made my baked treat that much more special.

Like I said before, I like things simple and love the "less is more" route. So I simply placed one heart sticker on a kraft bag, wrote out the recipe for the pie I was gifting out on one of the mason jar recipe cards, and inserted it into that bag. 

Then I generously wrapped her cooled pie with some of the gold baker's twine (which made it look so fun), tied a little bow, and placed it in a brown paper pie box. I placed the kraft bag with recipe card on top and closed the box up. On the bottom right corner of that box was another gold foil heart sticker. Classy and elegant. 

Here's the super duper fun part! Jess of Ruffled Paper has generously offered to give one Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe reader this amazing gift packaging set, as well! Holy cow, right?

One of you lucky ducks will win ALL of what you see in this post (except the pie...sorry guys)- a $34 value!!! These babes are sure to make you a gift wrapping or snail mail decorating champion. 

Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor.
Now for the small print: Ruffled Paper provided me with a free samples of these products to review. I was under no obligation to write a positive review. All pictures and opinions are my own. CONTEST OPEN TO US RESIDENTS ONLY. Contest will run for 7 days and will end on July 15th. Winner will be shown on this blog post upon being chosen AND will be contacted by Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe via email. Winner has 24 hours to email back and claim prize before a new winner will be chosen. All prizes were graciously donated and shipped to winner by Ruffled Paper.