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Naturally Gluten Free Cornbread

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Welcome to fall! With the autumn crispness in the air, chili in many forms, becomes a regular on my dinner table. We love turkey chili, beef chili, vegetarian chili. We love it mild or light-your-head-on-fire hot. My favorite side dish for chili is cornbread.

I’ve tried many cornbreads, and I’ve found far too many that are dry and dusty, or the flavor of corn is masked by other ingredients. I really like corn to be the star of cornbread. I also need it to be gluten free…and low in the dairy protein. My kids are gluten intolerant and my youngest is having issues with dairy and dairy protein. Interestingly, it seems butter can be considered ‘dairy free’ because it is a fat and the amount of protein in it is fairly minimal, especially ghee. And my daughter (thankfully) can manage butter.
I haven’t made this with anything other than butter, but I imagine you can substitute a butter flavored shortening if you must be 100% dairy free.
This is my mothers recipe, and I can remember her baking it in a cast iron pan at our mountain cabin. My brother and I would come in from being outside in the clean mountain air with a ravenous appetite, and my mother would pull this hot out of the oven for us to gobble up. I really hope you enjoy it as much as we do in my house. Its moist, buttery, tender, and bursting with corn flavor.

As always, read through the entire recipe before starting, and if you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section.

Moms Naturally Gluten Free Cornbread

6 Tbsp of Butter, softened
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup Cottage Cheese (I use 1%)
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Can Creamed Corn
1 Cup Corn Meal. (I use Bobs Red Mill)
1 Tsp Baking Powder, mixed with a little milk or milk substitute just before adding.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. Cream butter and sugar together using a stand mixer or electric mixer.
2. Add eggs, beating between each egg addition. This will look loose, but don’t worry about it.
3. Add cottage cheese, salt and creamed corn. Stir to combine.
4. Add cornmeal, mix until well blended.
5. Mix baking powder with a little milk  or dairy-free milk substitute, if needed. Add to the batter and stir to combine.
6. Pour batter into a greased or buttered baking dish 8×8 or small casserole of equivalent volume, (see photo below), or use a 10 inch cast iron pan like my mother used.
7. Bake for 45 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
This bread is very moist, use a small spatula to remove cut pieces.

ENJOY!

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(This small casserole is 10 x 6.5)


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Killer Good Gluten Free Apple Pie.

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For Thanksgiving this year, I decided to make gluten free apple and pumpkin pies when my daughter mentioned that my GF Pumpkin Trifle gave her a tummy ache. (She has difficulty with large amounts of dairy fat)
When we first discovered my daughters gluten intolerance, there was absolutely nothing out there in the area of short doughs (pie crusts). There were a number of less than desirable options: tough as hardtack, tasteless, gritty, and well, generally not much better than cardboard. I resigned myself to crisps, puddings, trifles and other crustless alternatives. 8 years later, we are seeing an expanding variety of choices as demand has driven innovation in the gluten free field. More and more bloggers, chefs and food companies are taking up the gluten free baking challenge, and providing us with amazing results and techniques.

Spotlight here: A favorite baking company of mine King Arthur (KA) Flour. (Just to be upfront and honest, I am not paid for endorsements. I simply love to share information I have personally found useful.) I stumbled upon this pie crust recipe recently on their website, and it is LIFE CHANGING! I must give credit where it’s due and they have come up with a winning pie crust. Combine this tender, flakey, pastry with my own apple pie filling, and you have – as my friends’ son said “The best apple pie I’ve ever eaten!” He didn’t even know it was gluten free so you KNOW its the BOMB!

I honestly don’t know how this would turn out with another flour. KA is a mail order company as well as being found in retail grocery & specialty stores. The results are so fantastic, and it isn’t hard to come by, so I really don’t have the desire to try another flour. Also of note: I do know that KA’s flour blend is designed to be less gritty and allow baked goods to stay fresh longer. (Which makes your pie last a few days…then again, most likely not! This is hard to resist!) It’s worth having in your GF baking arsenal.

I have now baked this pie 3x’s since Thanksgiving and I have learned something each time. I have included an abundance of photos to assist you through the process.

Please read the recipe through first before beginning to cook. This recipe has a LOT of tips and tricks. As always, feel free to ask any questions of clarification in the comments section. I am not a professional recipe writer, but I do try hard to make everything clear as possible for my readers. My notes along the way, AND throughout, will ensure a positive result, so be sure to read through the recipe first!!

*I use ounces because I weigh my flour. It is far more accurate. If you can, invest in a scale. It makes a difference. Use a conversion table to convert back into cups if need be.
**ClearJel is optional in this recipe, and if you are celiac, you should check if it is 100% safe to consume. My daughters are intolerant, not celiac, and the slight possibility of cross contamination does not bother them. I don’t know what effect the elimination of it will have one the dough. Let me know if you try it without and if there were any differences.
***Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and place an aluminum sheet pan, covered in parchment (for easier cleanup) in the middle of your oven. Or, you can use a metal pie pan. I use a traditional glass, and as long as you use the metal sheet pan, you’ll be fine. The heated metal pan assists the browning of the bottom.
****You need to protect the crust from burning. Use a pie shield or make one out of tin foil.
*Apples: Haralson is my favorite. They break down just enough in the time it takes to cook the crust to give a bit of ‘sauce-like’ creaminess, but retain some bite. (See top photo of pie slice) I having made 3 pies now, I think apple pie is subjective. I love the ‘sauce-like’ additional texture, but others like to have firm distinct slices of apple.
My second version I made with Braeburn and Golden Delicious (1/2 of each). This pie turned out very similarly to the Haralson pie. But the Goldens are a pain to run through my apple slicer/corer, with the core stripping out and not processing through my device (photo below). That meant turning to a peeler and knife. So I tried another approach (hey, even I can be lazy!):

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This time I used Grannies along with Gala. (above photo). Honestly? This pie was dryer and vastly more firm with little breakdown of the apples. If you like a firm pie, this is your go to. Me? I will peel my Goldens and slice them if Haralson season is over!
**Boiled Apple Cider: is a product I buy from KA Flour. It is optional but it DOES add an incredible depth and flavor !pop! that makes this pie DIVINE. It’s worth the effort to order! Especially for that ‘special’ occasion pie!

Gluten Free Pie Crust (makes enough for 1 two-crust pie)

13 ounces of King Arthur Gluten Free Flour
2 Tbsp Cane Sugar
4 Tsp Instant ClearJel
1 Tsp Xanthan Gum
1 Tsp Salt
6 ounces Butter, cold
2 Large Eggs
4 Tsp Lemon Juice
Ice cold water – approximately 2-6 Tbsp

Combine the flour, sugar, ClearJel, Xanthan, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse once or twice to combine. Add butter, and pulse about 5 times, until the butter is cut into the flour, and resembles a crumbly mix that has some identifiable pea sized nuggets of butter.

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In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and lemon juice until foamy and pale in color.

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Add the whisked eggs to the dry mix, and pulse 2-3 times. Then, adding 3-6 tbsp of ice cold water, pulse the machine until the dough comes together.

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You know you’ve added enough liquid when you can take a small amount and it will hold shape when gently fisted into a ball.

Tear off 2 pieces of plastic wrap and lay flat on your counter. Divide the dough into two disks on the wrap, one slightly bigger than the other. When divided, they should weigh approximately 380g & 330g each. (weight will depend upon the amount of water you needed to add. The trick is to have one slightly bigger than the other) The smaller will be the base, the bigger the top. Pat/form into a disc about 6 inches in diameter. Wrap up and refrigerate at least an hour, up to overnight.

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When ready to use, allow the dough to warm up a bit, about 10 minutes depending upon your kitchen temperature. Lay flat a fresh piece of saran on your counter. Remove the smaller dough disc from the wrap and place on top of the fresh plastic wrap on your counter.

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Lay another piece of wrap over the top of your dough. Then, carefully roll the dough out until it fits your pie pan.
Begin from the center of the disc and with slightly firm, even, pressure roll from the center out, adjusting your pin to roll out in a clockwise or counter-clockwise method, to create an even circle. You may need to pull up and adjust the top plastic wrap as you roll, you’ll get the hang of it after one disk. If its not attractive, no worries, it is your base shell. Run you fingertips over the rolled out dough to make sure the thickness is even. Do NOT roll too thing. Lightly grease your pie pan. (I’ve made this twice w/o greasing the pie pan with no issues, but this is a nice guarantee the crust won’t stick. Remove the top sheet of plastic, and carefully pull the bottom piece up from the counter with the dough on it. Using the wrap as a ‘plate’, your hand supporting the dough, carefully invert it over your pie pan, centering it as you do. (I like to bring the pie plate up to partially meet the dough at the edge to make sure it’s centered. If you kept it cool, it will have some firmness to it, so you can gently adjust it in the pan.

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Gently, using both hands, one hand slightly lifting the edge, use the other hand to press the pie dough into place. Clean up the edge by trimming and pressing into place. At this point, you can use the trimmings to fill any low points you have or mend any tears.

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Throw it in the freezer for approximately 5-10 minutes while you prepare the filling.

**At this point, I recommend having your filling ready and oven hot before you roll out the second sheet of dough.

Apple Pie Filling

6-8 medium Apples, variety listed below##. I recommend Haralson, but see Note below for customizing to your taste!
1 C Sugar
1.5-2 Tsp Cinnamon, ground (you can add more or less to your taste)(#see note below)
1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 C Boiled Cider
1/4 Tsp salt
3 Tbsp Tapioca Flour
Approximately 4 Tbsp unsalted Butter
Whipping Cream
Sparkling Sugar or Demerara Sugar.
#I use a combination of both Ceylon and Vietnamese Cinnamons, just because I stock both. Use any cinnamon and taste your apples as you go. The amount will depend upon the strength of the cinnamon you use. (And its’ freshness)
##Apples: 8 Haralsons or; 5 Braeburn + 3 Golden Delicious; or 5 Granny Smith+3 Gala. It will be about 8 cups sliced. You might have leftovers, but no worries, they are delish right out of the bowl – chefs treat!

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Have a cooking cooling rack ready with a piece of parchment underneath to make clean up easier.

Peel, quarter and slice thinly the apples. (I use my handy dandy apple/slicer/corer, then cut from the top down in an ‘X’ to quarter!)

Add everything BUT the tapioca flour and butter and let sit for 15 minutes.

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Heat a small skillet, and pour the accumulated juices from the bottom of the bowl into the heated, non-stick pan. (I hold the apples in the bowl with one hand, and pour, but you can use a strainer in a bowl to collect the juices. But the apples MUST sit in the sugar/lemon juice first to bring out some of the liquid) Bring to a boil and reduce the liquid until it resembles a thick maple syrup. While boiling off, add any more accumulated juices to the pan to reduce.
**At this point, add to your apples, the Tapioca Flour and toss to coat all the apples.

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The purpose here is to drive off some of the water, and concentrate the flavors. Pour this reduced liquid over your apples and stir to combine.

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When you are ready to assemble your pie, pour your reduced apple juiced back into the apples & tapioca. Toss to combine. Scoop this mixture into your readied pie pan (the dough will be partially frozen and so sturdy enough hold the slightly warmed apples while you prepare the top pastry.) Pat the apples down to make sure they are as tightly fitted as possible.
Dot the top of the pie with unsalted butter. (I use artisan butter that comes in a pound brick…thus, the nice big irregular slices instead of cubes.)

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Roll out your second disk of dough, and again, using the bottom piece of plastic wrap as a carrier, carefully lay over the top of the apples. At this point, you the dough will cling a bit to the wrap, so you can center it over the pie. Remove wrap.
Gently urge the 2 layers together. Fold/meld the top with the bottom to make an even edge, trimming excess need be. (excess can fill in gaps)
Place your thumb on the edge, and using your index and fore-fingers on either side, pull up to create a fluted edge. (Or you can use a fork to secure the 2 layers together)
With a sharp knife, cut 4-5 slits into the top.
Brush the top of the pie with the heavy cream, sprinkle with sugar.
Place pie shield on pie (or make a tinfoil ring to lay around the edges).

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Place in the oven on top of the preheated metal pan. (this will help brown the bottom crust)

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Immediately turn oven down to 350 degrees. Bake for approximately 60 minutes. The pie dough will be browned and there might be some juices that have bubbled out.
Pull out of the oven when the top crust is nicely browned. Be careful to grab as much UNDER the lip as possible. This crust is very tender and will crush easily.
Place your pie on a cooling rack and cool completely. (1-2 hours) Sorry, but the juices need to set and settle. You can reheat the slices if you wish, but trust me, you won’t need to!

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LOOK AT THAT CRUST!!!! It’s TENDER! FLAKY! BROWNED! Best part? IT TASTES GOOD!
Looking at this…my mouth is watering!
Using a very sharp knife, cut into wedges, pile on a wad of whipped cream and MANJA!! This is a pie your grandma would approve of!

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Thank you for taking the time to read through this very LONG recipe! Leftovers keep on the counter (I am in MN, so its cool here, just say’in) for up to 5 days. Warmer climates? I’d say 1-3 depending upon your climate. I’m not your mom, use your best judgment. Be food safe! I’m just saying the crust stays lovely beyond day one!


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These Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls are the BOMB!

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Those who follow me, know I’ve been on a mission to create a Monkey Bread worthy of my very critical tastebuds. While I am obsessed with finding a recipe for light and airy nuggets of cinnamon sugared baked dough balls, which I make ONCE A YEAR, my girls have been missing plain old fashioned cinnamon rolls, which we enjoy year ’round.  While in Seattle recently (my oldest graduated college and it was her graduation wish to take a trip out there) we found a little bakery offering gluten free cinnamon rolls at a little shop in Pikes Marketplace. Finding them, and chatting with the shop owner, we ordered them to be picked up fresh the next morning. Fresh and warm, the flavor was excellent, but they reminded me more of an expertly made biscuit dough, rolled with cinnamon, sugar and butter and baked. Don’t get me wrong, it made me re-think my monkey bread if I cannot figure out a risen dough version. But based on the oooooh’s and aaaaaah’s, along with murmurs  of happiness from my girls, it was obvious cinnamon rolls were highly cherished.

So, when I stumbled on another bloggers risen dough version of a Cinnamon Roll, I leaped at the opportunity to give it a try. Of course, I always throw my own twist in, and this time is no different. Normally, I make a gluten free baked good more than once before throwing it out there for others to enjoy. However, after posting photos on my Facebook page: Michelle Venturo Cooking Coach a friend begged for the recipe. Sooooo, here goes! (Please read the entire recipe before starting!)

I will explain some of the potential pitfalls with this recipe right up front, and share my own tips and tricks.

This dough is sticky. Like, STICKY. Its not unmanageable, but my second batch will utilize the advice I’m giving you to make the process more manageable.
1. Use a Silpat. A lot of recipes use saran wrap to help shape and ease gluten free doughs. Sorry, but just isn’t going to work here. Don’t have a Silpat? Well, go get one. They have a lot of generics out there. Just get one. You’ll thank me later. They have a multitude of uses. Every kitchen should have one!
2. Use a LOT of GF flour on your Silpat. I always have Pamelas Artisan Flour on hand, so I used that. You could use any good gluten free flour blend, or plain white rice flour. I like the blends better for applications like this, but I’m just leaving the option open. If you don’t use enough flour on that Silpat, the dough will stick. No worries, just use a floured bench scraper and gently pry it loose and keep the rolling process going.
3. Unless you melt the butter (see #8 note below), getting the creamed butter to ‘spread’ over the dough rectangle just isn’t going to happen in a pretty way. Granted, its fall/winter and my kitchen is cold, but that dough is soft. I gave myself some grace and just tried to make it work by ‘smooshing’ the butter mixture into flattened wads and laid them over the top. (see photo below)
4. Once you roll your dough log up, you need to cut your rolls. I have always used Dental Floss. It’s easy and gives a clean cut. Only have mint floss on hand? No worries! Just run it under water to wash off the mint flavor and cut a-way! (no way I’m admitting I did that)
5. Grease your pan. I use an organic coconut spray by Spectrum. It works great. but you can use melted butter. (hmmm, i think butter sounds better, don’t you?)
6. Can you use something other than Pamelas Bread Mix? I don’t know. I know that my Perfect Gluten Free Pancakes are amazing made with Pamelas Artisan Flour. I just can’t guarantee they will turn out the same. I do think Pamela’s is a true gift for the gluten free cook. It liberated me when my daughters were diagnosed. I’ve tried all the brands and I like Pamela’s best. I don’t get commission, so I think I can say I like the product and be unbiased.
7. Next time, I will use 2-3 pie pans. I think these were spread too far apart and so they had nothing to ‘grab’ in the rising process. They turned out flatter than I would have liked, and that could be due to over-rising, under-rising, or not crowded close enough together. My daughter assured me she couldn’t find a single thing wrong, so it might just be me, being self-critical!
8. Next time, I might try melting the butter for the spread. Pioneer Woman in her rolls, uses melted butter, white sugar and cinnamon. I am wondering if that would work here. I’m thinking out loud, so if you are adventurous, try it. If not, stick to the recipe. It works.
9. (Last one, sorry for so many ‘tips’!) Next time, I might let the dough rest for half hour in the mixer, gently beat down and then turn out. It works for gluten dough, helping give time for the flour to accept the liquid, making it a little dryer to deal with.

Now that we have covered some of the tips for success, let’s get to baking!

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

3 Cups of Pamela’s Bread Mix.
3 large Eggs
1 cup of Buttermilk, warmed to 105 degrees. (no warmer than 115)
2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1 tbsp Organic Cane Sugar
1 package of Unflavored Gelatin, softened in 1/4 cup of water.
1 1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling

1 stick Unsalted Butter (8tbsp), softened
2 1/2 tbsp Cinnamon (I used half Ceylon and half Vietnamese)
1 cup Brown Sugar

**Frosting: see below

First: Add the yeast and sugar to the warmed buttermilk and let stand until it begins to foam up, about 10-15 minutes.

In a stand mixer, combine the flour, eggs and pulse. Add the yeasted-buttermilk mixture, gelatin and pulse the mixer again to combine. Add the apple cider vinegar and beat for approximately 2 minutes. (If experimenting with ‘resting’, this would be a good time to let it rest for a bit. Then give a quick pulse on the machine to ‘knead’ it down and then continue)

When dough is done, turn out onto your well-floured Silpat. Gently pat the clump out into a – sorta – rectangular shape. Then, with a very well floured rolling pin (sprinkle more flour over the top if you need to keep it from sticking) gently roll the dough out to approximately a 16×11 rectangle. (that is the shape of a standard Silpat) Trim the edges.

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Then, take your softened butter mixture (FYI: I have sped this process up but beating it with my stand mixer. Beating the butter with the sugar, allows the sugar to cut up the butter and soften it fairly quickly) and gently smooth it as you drop it on the dough. Just try to be as even as possible. Spread it as evenly as possible. (photo above)

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Here is the ‘fun’ part: rolling!  Pick up the long edge and gently begin to fold it over on the dough. You are rolling it into the shape of a log. If it is going to stick, this is where it will. Don’t panic, simply take a kitchen knife or bench scraper that has been dipped in your flour, and gently ease it off the mat and onto itself. Keep rolling. If you need to use a bit of flour to ease the rolling process, do it. When the whole thing is rolled up (photo above), pinch the seam together as best you can. Now is when your teeth cleaning skills come in to play….not really! Now is when you use your dental floss to ‘cut’ the dough. Lay it flat and slide it under the log. Then lift both ends up, cross them over and pull, it will cut off a 1.5 inch slice. Take the slice, and place it in your greased 9×13 dish, cut side up. Continue till all the dough is cut.

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Cover the pan with saran wrap. I like to put a dish towel over the top and place it in the warmest spot in your kitchen. Since I usually have my oven going, near the oven is best. If that is NOT your case, then bring 4 cups of water to a boil, put a pan in your oven that will hold the water, and pour it in, place your rolls in, and shut the oven door! The warm water will warm up the air. You might want to check the warmth after about 45 minutes. (Rolls can take 45 min- 2 hours to rise, depending upon your kitchen temp) Re-heat the water if you need to.

When the rolls have doubled in size. Heat up your oven to 375 degrees.
Bake for 28-35 minutes. Check them early. They should be cooked through, but not BURNED! What can I say, some baked goods are subjective! Some people like their cookies soft and gooey, some like them hard and crispy. Bread? Needs to be cooked. Err on the safe side for more cooked. My frosting will make up for a multitude of errors!

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Make frosting while it bakes:

4 cups Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Maple Extract
1/4 cup Melted Butter (salted)
1-2 tbsp Nespresso. (If you don’t have a nespresso – (Big Man’s fathers day gift) – use a very strong brewed coffee.
Milk added to make the right consistency, thin enough to drizzle, but not too loose. It might be as much as 1/4 cup, could be as little as 2 tbsp.
*whisk together until smooth. When you come back to it, it might have ‘dried out’ a bit, so add a bit of milk or coffee to thin it out.
*if using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt.

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Immediately upon removing from the oven, turn out onto a platter. Sounds easy? Yeah. I still find it intimidating! Here is the trick. I have a full sheet pan. (large lightweight platter works too) I place a piece of parchment on it. I take that sheet pan (or platter if you don’t have a sheet pan big enough) and I invert it onto the top of the hot baking dish.  Put on your oven mitts, and with one hand on the sheet pan, one on the bottom of the baking dish, flip. The rolls will slip right out.

Then, while warm, pour frosting over the top. (This is what it looks like flipped over!)

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And, here is the final product….after little munchkins have nibbled away at it. By the end of the night, half was gone.

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So, I guess that is the best testimony! My daughter says this post will go viral. It will be fun to see if her high marks are agreed upon.
Please, leave any feedback or questions below in the comments. I would love to know how they turned out for you, or if something is not clear enough!