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Gluten-free Soft Pretzel Knots

anniemade // Recipe for Gluten-free Soft Pretzel Knots

Okay, so I’ll be honest. I made this recipe with the intention of creating full-on soft pretzels in honor of my dad’s 60th birthday (since he is obsessed with all things pretzel). However, for some reason the dough kept shrinking in on itself, and forming these knots naturally. I went with it, and hey, they are still delicious.

(Adapted from this recipe at The Cottage Market)


  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour (for gluten-free, I used Bob’s Red Mill. For wheat, use regular all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1 tsp. of sugar
  • 1 package of active dry yeast (1/4oz) fast rising or regular will work fine
  • 1 cup warm water

For Baking Soda bath, use:

  • 1/8 cup of warm water and 2 tsp. baking soda

For topping warm pretzels:

  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • kosher salt to taste
  • (or, a mixture of 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup white or brown sugar for sweet pretzels)

anniemade // How to make gluten-free soft pretzels


  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees
  2. Put all of the dough ingredients into a bowl and mix well forming a nice dough and then knead for at least 5 minutes. I used my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook.
  3. The dough should be smooth, soft and pliable. You can add a little more water if needed. When it is ready,  pat into a ball and place it in a nice glass bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil, cover with cling wrap and put it in a warm dark place, like a preheated oven with the oven then turned off.) Then let it rise to double the size (can take about 40 minutes to an hour).
  4. Now take the dough and roll it into a thick log and cut into 8 equal parts. Then roll into lengths about 10 inches and form your pretzels. The Cottage Market links this 15 second video to see how to twist your pretzel. I did it this way but my dough kept rolling into a tight knot, so I just went with that shape or cut pretzel nuggets from the long line of dough.
  5. Now is the time to make your baking soda wash. Add the warm water to the baking soda and mix good, now brush (using a pastry brush) the wash over the whole outside of the pretzel and repeat for all of them.
  6. Pop them in the over and cook for 9 minutes, they should be a rich pretzel brown.
  7. Remove from the oven, melt your butter and apply to all of the pretzels with the pastry brush and sprinkle with salt…or coat them in butter and cinnamon and sugar, you can’t really go wrong, even though they aren’t a traditional pretzel shape.

Even though they were mostly knots, I still managed to get one or two “pretzely” shapes out of the gluten-free version of the dough (see below). The gluten-free iteration was a little dry after the first day.. best to enjoy them hot on the first day with a nice Coke or Diet Coke like my dad has taught me since I was little.

And Gus was happy regardless – he enjoyed his by treating it like a pretzel roll and making gluten-free pretzel bread sandwiches. Om nom nom, I say!

anniemade // Gluten-free Soft Pretzel Knots and Nuggets Recipe


DIY Wicker Dining Table and Chair Makeover

Y’all, our house is actually livable now! It only took about 6 weeks to unpack everything we could, paint all the furniture that needed to be redone, order bookcases and a china cabinet, assemble said new furniture, and then be able to continue unpacking. Whew.

We’re finally at a place where we can relax when Gus and I are done with our work days. Though there’s still a lot of personal touches to add (like any photos on the walls), I’m excited that today, I can share with you one of our epic DIY’s that has helped make this little apartment a little home for us!

This is my mom’s pink wicker kitchen table from when I lived with her over a decade ago. I think it originally came from Pier 1 (as so much of our home did). The seats had since been recovered twice with fabric that took it from its orginal beachy pink and blue to a totally different direction. Needless to say, it needed some TLC and a totally fresh work for our space.

Get ready for this BEFORE, because you’re going to see what paint color we chose for the dining space – yay!

anniemade // DIY Pink Wicker Table and Chair Set Makeover - Spray paint and fabric re-do

I mean, that looks settled right? What? You don’t have an exposed bulb in your living room? That light is actually a recessed light that we bought a recessed light kit for. Don’t worry, we added a shade and it looks pretty awesome for a quick $13 Lowes makeover.

Anyway, let’s get a close up look of those pink wicker chairs:

anniemade // DIY Pink Wicker Table and Chair Set Makeover - Spray paint and fabric re-do


Okay, so here’s what we did to take them from this.. to this:

anniemade // DIY Pink Wicker Table and Chair Set Makeover - Spray paint and fabric re-do

anniemade // DIY Pink Wicker Table and Chair Set Makeover - Spray paint and fabric re-do

anniemade // DIY Pink Wicker Table and Chair Set Makeover - Spray paint and fabric re-do


  • 5 cans of Valspar Paint & Primer Off-White Spray Paint in Gloss Finish
  • Dropcloths and painters tape
  • An electric drill
  • Minwax Finishing Paste
  • Staple Gun with staples
  • About 2 yards of fabric

I used an electric drill to remove the screws holding the wood seats to the wicker and then set the screws aside. The next part took an entire morning, and I made the mistake of only starting with two spray paint cans. Since the table and chairs are wicker, it took at ton of spray paint to get all the nooks and crannies and a ton of paint went on to the drop cloths. Anyway, I did this on the patio and covered every surface in plastic drop cloths before spraying. Each chair and the table took a bit more than 2 light coats each. I’m happy with how they came out, but honestly, next time I’d definitely paint by hand for something this intricate.

Anyway, we left them to dry for several days (took them off the porch after a few hours) and then coated them with finishing wax to protect the paint.

For the seats, I scored a great deal for this 50% waverly fabric – $7 a yard! Using a rotary cutter, we cut four squares that fit the seats (about 25 x 25″). We removed the old coverings and staples with a flat head screwdriver.

Then, and this is key, Gus and I worked together to staple the fabric onto the seats. We found it worked best to fold a side over, ensuring the fabric is as smooth as possible and holding it down for the other person to staple the fabric down taught. It took about 15 minutes per seat or so.

anniemade // DIY Pink Wicker Table and Chair Set Makeover - Spray paint and fabric re-do

Then, all that was left to do was another two person job, screwing the seats back into the chairs with the screws I had from earlier. This was probably the funniest step – I sat in each chair to hold the seats down while Gus got under the chair and added the screws back in. Fairly easy peasy.

And that was it! In the end, it took about $20 of spray paint and $15 of fabric to take this table from eek to happy:

anniemade // DIY Pink Wicker Table and Chair Set Makeover - Spray paint and fabric re-do

anniemade // DIY Pink Wicker Table and Chair Set Makeover - Spray paint and fabric re-do

anniemade // DIY Pink Wicker Table and Chair Set Makeover - Spray paint and fabric re-do

We’re really happy with how much this has changed our space. The table, combined with our Ikea linen cabinet (used for china!), and our linen shade fixture, makes it a lot more homey in here.

And this isn’t the only DIY painted furniture project we’ve done recently… stay tuned for more home decor fun in the future.

Gluten-Free Oreo Brownie Cake Trifle

anniemade | Gluten-Free Oreo Brownie Cake Trifle - Made with Gluten-Free Trader Joe's Joe-Joes and GF Betty Crocker Cake Mixes - Super Easy Recipe

Okay, so whether you’re gluten-free or not, this is one EASY, FUN, and strangely IMPRESSIVE dessert recipe. I whipped this together for a recent birthday potluck, knowing there’d be a gluten-free guest or two that’d have to skip birthday cake time.

This is a really easy go-to if you’ve got a trifle bowl and a few mixes on hand. Here’s the recipe for both GF and wheat eaters (see notes). Please note, I doubled the recipe for the filling below so you’ll have twice as much pictured and can do more layers than I had. If you like what’s pictured, cut the filling ingredients by 50%.



  • One Box Devil’s Food Cake Mix + Ingredients to prepare mix (eggs, etc.) per the box – For Gluten-Free, use the Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix
  • One Box Brownie Mix + Ingredients to prepare mix (eggs, etc.) per the box – For Gluten-Free, use the Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Brownie Mix
  • 14-16 crushed Gluten-Free Joe Joe’s from Trader Joe’s (for wheat eaters, you can use traditional Oreos)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 8oz tubs of french vanilla cool whip, thawed / not frozen
  • 2 8oz packages of plain cream cheese, softened

anniemade | Gluten-Free Oreo Brownie Cake Trifle - Made with Gluten-Free Trader Joe's Joe-Joes and GF Betty Crocker Cake Mixes - Super Easy Recipe


  1. Bake your cake and brownies as each box recommends, then set aside to cool. Bake both in pans (no need for cupcake tin since you’ll be cubing the cake shortly).
  2. Meanwhile, make your filling by mixing the cream cheese and sugar until well combined. Fold in Joe Joe’s (or Oreos) and cool whip until well mixed. Throw in fridge to chill.
  3. Prepare your cake and brownie pans by cutting each into small 1″ to .75″ cubes.
  4. Place your first layer (I chose brownie) in the bottom of the trifle bowl, covering the bottom of the bowl but not stacking cubes.
  5. Top the brownie (or cake) first layer with a layer of the cream cheese mixture, smoothing the top with a knife.
  6. Place your next layer with the opposite (if you did brownies first, do cake next) – filling the cubes into one clear layer and not stacking.
  7. Top this layer with filling as well. Repeat as necessary, as your trifle bowl allows.
  8. Top with a filling layer and if you’re so inclined, a few crushed Joe Joe’s or Oreos on top.
  9. Chill until serving and enjoy the chocolatey goodness on three levels!

On Enthusiasm and the Power of the Girly Jump Up-and-Down Thing


I’m starting to realize how important enthusiasm is. At the recommendation of a friend, I’m currently reading How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by famous insurance salesman Frank Bettger. Even though my work is pretty far from the world of life insurance, this book is a bit of a legend in being useful to any entrepreneur- and Bettger starts the book with a discussion of enthusiasm.

He says, “Enthusiasm is by far the highest paid quality on earth, probably because it is one of the rarest; yet it is one of the most contagious.”

So with this in my mind, I had some epic news this week that was cause for enthusiasm – my cousin (aka little sister) Ashley got engaged! I got a text that she had something sparkly to share and was on her way over to my place. In the rush of putting the pieces quickly together, I started to feel that incredible gratitude that I can share this moment with her.

Ashley was my Maid of Honor at my wedding, and I basically asked her to be within minutes of getting engaged. She was a rock throughout the whole process and then proceeded to hit it out of the ballpark with the best Maid of Honor speech I’ve ever heard and ever seen given.


So when she came to my door, I was thinking about how to greet her. I was thinking about the book and the power of enthusiasm. I realized that the moments that really matter exceed enthusiasm  - they call for the girly jump up-and-down thing.

Oh, you know, when you grab hands with someone (generally a girl, but hey whoever) and you jump up and down and scream ridiculously with happiness. That’s the girly jump-up-and-down thing. And that’s exactly what we did.

It was silly, but it made me feel alive. And grateful. And in the moment. And I realized then that enthusiasm is a piece, but it’s that genuine excitement that you show and don’t hide inside yourself that really matters. Getting up off the couch, being brave enough to be silly, and that’s what it means to show up for life.

Congratulations Ash (and Justin)! I love you, and I am so crazy excited to be here, just down the street for you and can’t wait til our next excuse to jump up-and-down.


Photography | Brett & Jessica

Our New Place & How to use Keynote to Digitally Paint Your House

anniemade // Custom Moving Announcement by Greatest Story Creative

I’m excited to share that after 7 months of living thanks to the kindness of dear friends and family, Gus and I finally have our first place in NC. It’s in the Triangle and it’s a small 1 bedroom apartment that’s about to be cozy, awesome central (you know, once we can get unpacked).

I’m also happy to share that moving to this blank slate means a lot of fun home DIY projects are back on the radar and will be shared here on anniemade, so stay tuned if that’s your kind of thing.

Today, here’s a sneak peek of our apartment (before we moved in!) and a trick on how to digitally “paint” your walls using Apple’s presentation program Keynote.

This is our main living space – the living room – from which you can see the bar (that contains the galley kitchen) and a bit of the dining “area” of the right side of the room.


So, I’m itching to fix that crooked cabinet above the bar but that’ll wait for a different day.

In any case, the beige had to go. But what to color it instead? I was totally unsure and had to make a decision fast – using the Friday and Saturday before our Sunday move to paint both this room and the bedroom.

And here’s where Keynote comes in to help me “digitally” paint the room. Keynote is the Mac version of PowerPoint. Not sure you can use this trick in Powerpoint, but I bet there’s a way to. Some websites will let you do this too, but I found this easier for myself.

The process is fairly simple.

1. Open Keynote

2. Drop your image (or images) of your room into a new, blank white slide. Size it so it fits completely in the slide.

3. Click the “Shapes” button and scroll down to the very last tool – it looks like a pen with some red dots.

4. With this pen tool selected, trace the corners of each wall, as if you were creating a parallelogram or rectangle. You do this by clicking dots into place at each corner, then clicking a dot on top of your first one (completing the shape). Here’s a photo.


5. When you have a complete rectangle, all you need to do from there is use the “Fill” tool to fill in your shape with your desired color. If you want to get fancy, you can use an online paint swatch then use the Magnifying Glass function under “Show Colors” to grab that online paint swatch color. Just select your shape, hit “Fill”, hit “Show Colors,” then click the magnifying glass on top of the online paint swatch. This should cause your shape to fill with that exact color.

Basically, you’re breaking the walls down into shapes and then changing the colors of those shapes. You can select multiple shapes and change their color together, at the same time, thereby “digitally painting” them.

Here are a few iterations we considered (and a possible solution to cover up the ugly bar cabinets). Can you guess which one we went with for painting inspiration?

anniemade // How to use Keynote to digitally paint your home or apartment anniemade // How to use Keynote to digitally paint your home or apartment anniemade // How to use Keynote to digitally paint your home or apartment anniemade // How to use Keynote to digitally paint your home or apartment



So stay tuned to see if you guessed right. I’ll be sharing more of the house in May and more in the next few months as we dive into getting settled. Til then, happy digital painting!

Zoodles and Meat Sauce!

anniemade // Recipe for Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles) and Meat Sauce // Gluten free, low carb, and om nom nom

Y’all, those aren’t noodles – they are ZOODLES! Aka zucchini noodles. And they are magical. And low carb. And naturally gluten-free. And, you’ll think I’m nuts, but they totally satisfy my craving for pasta (and pasta is probably my all time favorite food).

So, zoodles. I’d been curious about zoodles since seeing them on Pinterest and since I’ve been trying to get back on a more consistent low carb eating plan. My dad came to visit and upon a trip to the local Williams Sonoma, treated me to my very own vegetable spiralizer.

That, since you asked, is this crazy thing.

anniemade // Recipe for Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles) and Meat Sauce // Gluten free, low carb, and om nom nom

Looks complicated but it’s super easy to use. You can do zucchini, carrots, cucumber, potato (curly fries anyone?) and even apples! It comes with three blades – shown here is the more noodle-y one, but there’s also a ribbon blade (hello ribbon fries), and a shoestring cutter. If you are interested in getting your own – here’s the one I have and definitely recommend.

So anyway, you don’t need a spiralizer – you could use a grater to make zucchini noodles as shown here – but the recipe below uses the gizmo.



  • 4-5 Fresh Zucchinis
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 jar (24 oz) of your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter (your choice)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 c red wine


1. First – you’ll prep the zucchinis. Begin by preheating your oven to 250F. Then wash and dry the zucchinis, then split them once in half short-ways and slice the ends off so they are flat. They are then ready to run through the vegetable spiralizer.

2. After zoodling all your zucchinis, lay them out on a cookie sheet covered in two layers of paper towels. Sprinkle your tbsp of salt on them and massage through so all noodles have a light coating. This will draw a lot of excess water out of the zoodles. Top with a layer of paper towels and throw in the oven for 30-40 minutes to let the zoodles sweat out the water.

3. In the meantime, cook up your ground beef. For our recipe, I broke up a pound into approximately 1 inch chunks that are sort of like meatballs. Cook on medium-high until brown, then drain the grease and set aside.

4. Next, saute your onion in olive oil or butter until cooked through on medium heat.

5. Then add half your wine, then the meat back in. Top with your spaghetti sauce, add the rest of the wine, your garlic, and remaining spices, then allow to cook on medium-low or low for awhile (depending on when you’d like to serve dinner).

6. When your ten minutes away from serving dinner, take your zoodles out of the oven. Remove the soaked paper towels and use another layer to squeeze out any additional water you can get to.

7. In a separate (large) skillet, melt some butter or olive oil on medium heat. Then, add your zoodles and saute them for approximately 3-6 minutes to your desired level of doneness. If making zoodles for a crowd, I recommend doing this step in a large electric skillet.

8. To serve, have a kitchen scissor nearby as zoodles tend to be extremely long and you may have to “cut” them as you portion out onto hungry people’s plates. Top with sauce and parmesan cheese, or whatever your spaghetti and meat sauce custom may be.


anniemade // Recipe for Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles) and Meat Sauce // Gluten free, low carb, and om nom nom


New chapters, new life

anniemade // On new chapters and new life

It’s an interesting week for me that has me reflecting on new chapters, new life, the past, the future – everything kind of. We moved to our first official North Carolina apartment this week, so we’re surrounded by boxes – a very visual reminder of a new chapter. Monday night was also our Passover seder – the first time I’ve been home for it since college and the first time Gus was able to celebrate Passover with my family.

And with these things going on, today is the eleven year anniversary of my mom passing away. Hitting ten years last year was something that really struck me and was an important milestone in a time in my life when I was thinking about making some huge, courageous changes.

A year later… and eleven years later… I’m watching life change so much everyday. I don’t think I’ve ever been more grateful for the life I have and the people who are in it than now. I can’t remember a time in recent memory that I felt as satisfied and happy with the life I’m invited by God to live everyday. I’m still filled, at times, with insecurity, anxiety, worry, stress, fear – but at a base level, I am grateful to be alive.

So today, when I think of my mom, I’m not thinking about her death so much as I am thinking about the power of her life – the power of the person she was. The more I’ve been on this journey of refocusing my life on what really matters, the more I’ve seen that power guide me and inspire me in expected and so many unexpected ways.

As we were leaving the Passover seder on Monday night, my cousin Sharon presented me with the seedling that’s the picture in today’s post. Along with the seedling is a story. It’s a cutting from a plant that almost 20 years ago, my mom gave to Sharon to welcome her to Fayetteville. Sharon kept it, grew it, cared for it, and now is giving it to me to plant it and develop roots of my own.

And she gave it to me – this gift of new life – during this week, of all weeks, on the eve of a new home, a new chapter, during a passover celebration, and the anniversary of a very tough day in my life. And though maybe it’s cheesy, I can’t help but feel it’s mom nudging me – saying this is the time to put down roots, to stay and grow awhile, and to see what good you can do.

I miss you mom, but I trust what you taught me – that things happen for a reason and angels do exist. I am so grateful that you are mine.


Creative Living Book Club: “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon

anniemade Creative Living Book Club // Recommendation - Show Your Work by Austin Kleon - a great tome on how to share who you are and what you do without becoming human spam

So, for the past year or so, I’ve been sharing amazing books as I’ve been discovering them myself (read: quoting them like crazy to every single coffee, lunch, and ice cream date I have). Today marks the first time I’ve shared the book I’m reading in advance with you as part of my new creative living book club.

If you had a chance to pick up “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon – today’s book – I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments here or on Facebook. Would love to hear what you have to add to the discussion about it. For those who haven’t read it, not sure I could really spoil it so much as tell you some great things to check out about it. I also recommend everyone check out this awesome podcast I just listened to with Austin discussing the book and its concepts further.

So anyway. I personally couldn’t wait to read “Show Your Work: 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered” as it’s Austin Kleon’s sequel to “Steal Like An Artist: 10 things nobody ever told you about creativity.”  If I’ve ever been obsessed with a book before, it’s Steal. I’ve written about it multiple times here, brought it as my thing to my Favorite Things Party last March, bought it for multiple friends and co-workers, and seriously thought about carrying an extra copy with me because I find myself bringing up aspects of it in conversation at least once a month. Not sure if it’s that good for everyone, but it has been that good for me. You can read more here about why, but now onto Show.

Now having read it, I can’t say it’s as impactful as Steal was on me – at least not yet – but I still really loved it and have been turning over the concepts of the book in my head. Here are the things that really landed with me:

-  The Notion that “You Don’t Have to Be a Genius”

Austin spends a lot of time in this chapter taking some of the pressure off the expectations that to create great work or be famous, you have to be a genius. He does this in many ways, namely by introducing the concept of “scenius” – the idea that many voices – your many influences and your tribe – creative a collective genius, from which great things come. Another reason I’ve been percolating on this is actually thanks to a Ted Talk I watched recently on Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love.” Here it is below because it’s that good and so fascinating about the notion of genius and the pressure to perform, especially after you’ve had a great success.

- Share Something Small Everyday aka A Daily Dispatch

One of the chapters focuses on the importance of sharing things that you love, relate to what you do, and the elements that make up your work (hence the title) and doing it on a daily basis. I’ve been really trying to take this advice to heart because I think there’s something to showing your curves, showing the details and the work that goes into an invitation or business branding. It’s not all about the finished product, there’s something to share and be learned in the process of it all. Austin later gets into how to make sure this “daily dispatch” doesn’t take the form of human spam – and that’s what I’ve also spent time considering – how to share what I do in a way that’s interesting, opt-in, and engaging/useful to others.

- Teach What You Know

This, to me, seems like a riff of what Austin talks about in Steal in the chapter - Write the book you want to read. And I love it, because it speaks to being authentic. Start with what you know. Teach what you know. I’ve always had a heart for teaching and mentoring and can feel that pulling at me as I continue to learn so much on my own creative life journey. This chapter had me thinking it may be time to do more of what scares me, like actually speaking about anniemade, Greatest Story, and the stuff I know – the stuff I know so far anyway. Lately, the litmus test for me has been “Does it terrify me and really interest me?” If the answer is “yes,” I kind of know I have to go for it – somehow. Stay tuned.

- The Vampire Test

I won’t share the full bit here, but Austin includes a really interesting aside about what to keep in mind when building your tribe – the community of people you spend your time with. The basic idea is that a vampire is a person or thing that drains your energy and makes you feel like total crap after you spend time with them/it. And the thought, that I’ve come to agree with him on, is that there is no cure for vampirism – just avoid them at all costs and don’t invite them in. I’d heard about something like this with people, but love how Austin extended it to obligations. If there’s organizations or things you do in your life that leave you feeling awful, as Elsa says, let them go.


What are the things you got out of it? Have you also read Steal? Do you have any recommendations for the next book? Would love to know. Thanks for joining me on this one!


If you want to check out the series, all links thus far are below:

anniemade Creative Living Book Club // Book recommendations for works that will wake you up, shake you up, encourage you, and carve a path to a more intentional personal / love / family / business / creative life

“168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think” by Laura Vanderkam / “Love Does” by Bob Goff / “The Power of Starting Something Stupid” by Richie Norton / “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon / “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon   / “Do Cool Sh*t” by Miki Agrawal “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story” by Donald Miller “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey

Gluten-Free Apple Slab Pie – the easiest pie to serve ever

anniemade // Gluten-free Apple Slab Pie with Pie Crust Stars - the easiest way to serve pie to your guests!

Y’all, that’s not a heavenly constellation – it’s a pie. It’s a sugary, cinnamon canvas of pie crust stars atop apple caramelly goodness in the form of something I’d never heard of until recently: a “slab” pie.

Much like the name suggests, a slab pie resembles a slab and you basically make any pie recipe you have in a deep casserole dish. You can then cut the pie into more easily managed bars rather than your typical 8 slices from a circular pie. This stuff is pretty life-changing.

anniemade // Gluten-free Apple Slab Pie with Pie Crust Stars - the easiest way to serve pie to your guests!

Since I’m an apple pie aficionado, I had some pretty big standards for making this and it had to be gluten-free to share with the hubby who also appreciates some epic pie.

So I share with you my new favorite pie recipe, gluten-free-ized:

APPLE SLAB PIE (Adapted from this recipe at AllRecipes; for a 10 x 15″ pan)


  • 3-4 gluten-free pie crusts (we got ours from Whole Foods, you’ll need 4 to create design as shown)

For the apples:

  • 8 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into thin slices
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free flour
  • 1 and 3/4 c white sugar
  • 1/2 tea ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tea vanilla extract

For the streusel topping:

  • 1 c gluten-free flour
  • 1 tea ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 c butter (chilled, chopped into small cubes)
  • 2/3 c brown sugar


1. Combine apples and all ingredients under “for apples” except for butter in a bag. Allow to sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

2. When you’re apples are about chilled, go ahead and pre-heat your oven to 350F. Spray your 10 x 15″ pan with a bit of Pam to prepare it for the crust.

3. Spread a bit of extra gluten-free flour on a clean, dry counter surface. Here, you will unroll two gluten-free pie crusts and reform them. Combine all the dough into one collective ball, then use a rolling pin to flatten it out. From here, you can press the crust dough into the bottom of the 10 x 15″ pan.

4. Once your dough is completely covering the bottom of the pan, top with your apple mixture then with the 2 tbsp of butter (use it to dot the mixture, so cut into small cubes and place throughout to melt over top.)

5. Now mix your ingredients for the streusel and set aside.

6. If you want to create the crust details as shown, you’ll repeat step 3 here using 1-2 gluten-free crusts. I did a woven design just by cutting rectangular strips and placing them over or on top of each other. I used the other half of 2 crusts to free-hand cut stars. You could also use a cookie cutter. When ready, place all your pie crust pieces on top.

7. Top your creation with your streusel mixture and place in the oven to bake for an hour or until golden and bubbly.

8. Serve as adorable square or rectangular bars with ice cream/life the good life.

anniemade // Gluten-free Apple Slab Pie with Pie Crust Stars - the easiest way to serve pie to your guests!


Treasures from the Annie Archives

So awhile back, I shared the experience I went through finally dealing with my mom’s stuff that had been in my aunt’s garage for ten years. My mom passed away in April of 2003, so maybe it’s fitting that it’s April now – 11 years later –  and I continue to face things from her life that I’d been unable to deal with in the inbetween.

Just this past weekend, Gus and I tackled about 12 boxes I wasn’t even aware existed that were in storage. Though abstractly, I might have imagined going through my mom’s things, especially her clothes, would be a pretty somber experience.

But it wasn’t. I’d liken it more to being like a museum curator or archaeologist – constantly being on the verge of discovery. Every box that we went through was one that I had assumed didn’t exist – so everything I found inside, to me, was a treasure. A treasure of my childhood, a treasure from decades ago like vintage photographs of my mother and her mother, or a treasure created by the sheer fact I still had it – like an old piece of writing or nostalgic VHS tape. And I was filled with so much love, and laughter, and gratitude for every piece and memory it brought back or created.

I didn’t keep everything – in fact, I only kept about 3 small totes and four boxes and will be giving about 8 boxes (especially of clothes) to goodwill.

But what I did keep are things that really moved me. It’s funny when you look at things you haven’t seen in twenty years and you were so young at the time, you may not even remember something to begin with. It was an even more moving experience sharing these discoveries with Gus who definitely was seeing everything for the first time.

Mom was great about keeping my art and just through going through the stacks, I discovered I obviously had a love of Jim Henson, Muppets, and Sesame Street since at least 1988.


And yes, that’s an actual cookie glued to Cookie Monster’s nose. That’s what a 20 year-old disintegrated cookie looks like, apparently.

In terms of other finds, given what you already know about me, is anyone surprised that I found a pair of these babies? I’d actually forgotten I owned them but am overjoyed to discover them again so I can use them. Obviously, they are very practical.


I wasn’t the only one with funny clothing. My mom had some beautiful pieces, many of which I have saved for the future, but there were a few signature items that I don’t think have passed the test of time. I share these with so much great love for each of these jackets – I remember her wearing each of them – and you better believe I’m keeping the rainbow one.


One of the most wonderful things was discovered evidence of one of my first design business – a “name catolog” from third grade I created with my best friend Tricia. The gist was we would draw and design your name in a specific style. For what purpose, I can’t really remember.

We were very enterprising and business savvy for third graders – to the point that we were concerned about “copywrite” and warned people not to damage the “catolog” or we could fine them $.10. I wonder what that would be with inflation.


But of all things, one of the discoveries that’s really sticking with me is this diary entry I found – not sure what the date is but I do remember writing it:


Once there lived a girl who dreamed of becoming a writer. That girl is me, Annie Fleishman. This story is about my life and the people in it. I hope it brings joy to others as it does to me. Everyone dreams of being a part of this world. My place is to be a writer. So I am “presuing” my dream to take my place in the great wonders of the world. 

I wrote this thinking it would begin my first novel. This weekend, I turned to the next page and discovered nothing but blank pages. I never got around to it.

Or maybe I did. Now that I’m a little older, here’s a new draft – for now.

Once there lived a girl who dreamed of helping people celebrate their stories. That girl/woman is me, Annie Franceschi. The greatest story of my life is about me and the people in it. I hope I can bring joy to others as they do to me. Everyone dreams of being a meaningful part of this world. My place is to be a storyteller. So I am pursuing my dream in order to play a part in the great story of the world.

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