Best Gluten Free Apple Pie Ever

We recently went apple picking and picked a five-gallon bucket full of apples. Apples from the local orchard by Aurora Meyer on aurorameyer.com After making two rounds of the easiest apple sauce ever, I tried my hand at a gluten-free apple pie adapting an All Recipes recipe. I don’t think I’ve ever had an apple pie that was this delicious and I’ve eaten a lot of apple pie. Best Gluten Free Apple Pie Ever fork tender in crust by Aurora Meyer on aurorameyer.com
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Best Gluten Free Apple Pie Ever
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (we used our convection feature which automatically reset the temperature to 400 degrees).
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer, continue stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
    Best Gluten Free Apple Pie Ever Caramel sauce by Aurora Meyer on aurorameyer.com
  3. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Place the crust on a baking sheet to catch drips.
  4. Fill the pie crust with apples, mounded slightly. Carefully pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not runoff.
    Best Gluten Free Apple Pie Ever mounded apples in crust by Aurora Meyer on aurorameyer.com
  5. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated 425 (or 400) degree oven.
    Best Gluten Free Apple Pie Ever Baking by Aurora Meyer on aurorameyer.com
  6. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (our oven reset the convection temperature to 325 degrees).
  7. Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are fork-tender.
    Best Gluten Free Apple Pie Ever fork tender in crust by Aurora Meyer on aurorameyer.com

5 Pro Tips To Lower Your Utility Bills For Free

5 Pro Tips To Lower Your Utility Bills For Free by aurorameyer.com

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written for our readers.

Utility bills are usually accompanied by a sinking feeling in your heart and the inevitable lamenting that it’s getting more and more expensive to keep your lights on. What’s more, COVID-19 has had everyone locked inside for weeks, forcing you to use more electricity and gas at home than you would normally do. No wonder that one in three US households struggles to pay their monthly utility bill.

Is there a way to reduce the costs without compromising on feeling comfortable at home, especially when your home is also now your office? The obvious solution would be to install solar panels or buy energy-efficient appliances, but they all cost money.

Fortunately, there are a few budget-saving techniques for you to try – completely for free.

1. Reduce your Hot Water Temperature

No one likes cold water when you shower. But if your water heater thermostat is set at 140ºF by default (which they often are!), you might not only be burning through $61 annually in standby heat losses but potentially also facing a safety hazard—scalding. Reducing your water heater temperature to 120ºF will not only save you money but will slow mineral build-up and corrosion in your water heater and pipes.

2. Insulate Your Water Tank

While you are in the bathroom, make sure you also insulate your water tank. When on standby, your uninsulated water tank is responsible for 25% to 45% energy losses. One of the clever and surprisingly cheap ways to save energy is wrapping a blanket around your tank to stop the heat from escaping.

3. Stop Pre-Rinsing Dishes

This one might very well blow your mind. Most of the newer model dishwashers have pre-built sensors to check how dirty your plates are to determine how long a cycle is needed to clean them. By pre-rinsing your plates beforehand, you might be tricking the sensor into using lighter than optimal cycle and additionally, you might be wasting 6000 gallons of water annually.

4. Switch Electric Suppliers

There are currently 18 U.S. states with competitive energy marketplaces, driving the electricity rates in these deregulated states below the U.S. average. Residents are free to switch electric suppliers and reduce the price they pay for electricity. Switching suppliers is easy, secure and it often involves only a few clicks of your computer mouse. In addition, most suppliers offer additional perks to win you over – attractive rewards programs, complimentary smart home devices, or 100% renewable energy.

5. Use Free Electricity

Speaking of perks, many electric suppliers offer incentives and discounts to customers willing to switch their power usage to off-peak hours. By making small adjustments to your daily routines, like running your washing machine or a dishwasher at night, instead of during the day, the energy you use in those hours might come with a zero-price tag. Get in touch with your power company to see if they offer free-nights or free-weekends electricity plans. Since we are stuck home all day anyway, we might as well save money, right?

 

Gluten-Free Baked Vanilla Sprinkle Doughnuts

Like everyone else, thanks to COVID-19, we have spent the last three-plus weeks at home. This means Miss A and I have bee doing quite a bit more baking. We’ve mastered several modified recipes and so far, this Gluten-Free Baked Vanilla Sprinkle Doughnuts is our favorite.


Print Recipe


Gluten-Free Baked Vanilla Sprinkle Doughnuts

Gluten Free Baked Vanilla Sprinkle Doughnuts

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Servings
doughnuts


Ingredients

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Servings
doughnuts


Ingredients

Gluten Free Baked Vanilla Sprinkle Doughnuts


Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spray a doughnut pan or muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

  2. Combine the gluten-free flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk together with a fork until completely combined.

  3. In a separate mixing bowl, add the almond milk, yogurt, and eggs. Whisk until smooth. Add in the olive oil and vanilla extract. Whisk again until smooth.

  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until they are fully combined and there are no dry spots. The batter will be thick and sticky. (If it is too dry add a bit more milk, if it is too wet add a more gluten-free flour.)

  5. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the greased pan until they are filled 3/4 of the way.

  6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. The doughnuts will be golden-brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack before frosting.

  7. Once the doughnuts are cooled, frost them with your favorite icing. We're partial to chocolate.

How Much Money Can You Earn as a Virtual Assistant?

Virtual Assistant Desk to accompany How Much Money Can You Earn as a Virtual Assistant post by Aurora Meyer

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written for our readers.

You’ve made up your mind to hand in your two weeks’ notice and escape the 8-to-5 grind that’s virtually taken over your life. You desperately wish to regain control of your life, maintain a healthy work-life, and spend more time with your loved ones. Or, you’re just looking to escape a toxic work environment.

After extensive research, you’re dead-set on becoming a virtual assistant and enjoy the freedom that comes with working from home.

Naturally, you’re concerned about how much money you can make as a virtual assistant as you’re determined to build the life of your dreams.

What’s a Virtual Assistant’s Earning Potential?

A little Googling shows you virtual assistants across the globe earn between $3 and $60 per hour and more. The massive discrepancy in wages only piques your curiosity.

Further research shows that the pay rates vary significantly across the world, but it ultimately boils down to a few crucial factors:

  • Level of expertise. Virtual assistants fall into two broad categories – generalists who hand basic tasks and specialists who have mastered specific crafts. If you’re highly competent and committed to lifelong learning, you’ll scale the heights of success as a VA.
  • Your Experience. Your skills and experience determine the value you offer your clients, and that determines your income. Clients pay higher rates to seasoned experts since they can tap into their vast knowledge to come up with ingenious solutions. Also, because they have mastered the art of working in an unstructured work environment.
  • Target clients. Established companies and high net worth individuals offer higher rates than most small businesses and solopreneurs. Your client’s area of specialization also counts as it determines their ability to generate revenue.
  • Your location or nationality matters because it determines the cost of living. Remote workers in Europe and the USA charge more than their counterparts in Asia and Africa who aren’t as cost-burdened.

As a VA, you’re not entitled to retirement benefits and medical insurance. Therefore, you must factor these costs into your rates to earn a comfortable living.

What Are Some of the Most Lucrative VA Roles?

You don’t have to start at the bottom of the totem pole. Not when you’re a skilled VA with an efficient job search strategy.

You can have your pick from these rewarding VA sectors:

  • Rookies make up to $6/hour, while seasoned experts command as much as $45/hour.
  • E-commerce store administrator. Rookies make up to $25/hour while experts make as much as $70/hour.
  • Graphic designers. Rookies make up to $10/hour while experts make up to $37/hour.

While many factors influence your earnings as a virtual assistant, skills and abilities are the most critical. Honing your skills to an art form lets you snag lucrative contracts and lowers the amount of competition you’re up against.

Scaling Your Startup: 21 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written for our readers.

Infographic of IG-Entrepreneurship-and-Startup-Stories by Aurora Meyer

You’re familiar with the saying “knowledge is power.”

Of course, knowledge can be gained just about anywhere these days: a TedTalk, podcast, YouTube video — you name it, the list goes on. But If you want exposure to new ideas, modes of thinking and a compounded aggregate of diverse knowledge, then reading is important, especially if you want to be a successful business person.

Warren Buffett — arguably the most skilled investor of our time — said reading 500 pages a day was the key to success. “That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest,” he explained. He’s not alone in that belief. Other iconic business people incorporate reading in their daily rituals. Take Bill Gates for example. He reads 50 books every year. Mark Zuckerberg is another business icon who’s tackled lofty reading goals like reading a new book every other week — that’s 26 books in one year.

Of course, with millions of entrepreneurship and business books out there, just figuring out where to start can be a challenge in and of itself. Then you have to sift through reviews to discern quality from fluff. Simply put, not all business advice distilled into books is equal, especially when it comes to the volatility of businesses at the startup stage.

To help point you in the right direction, a startup insurance company, Embroker, narrowed down a list of 21 books geared to help entrepreneurs scale their startups and learn from some of the best veteran businessmen and women out there. These are broken into the following categories: growth hacking and scaling, books to read before pitching VCs, and entrepreneurship and startup stories.

Growth Hacking Books

If you’re like most founders, scaling your business is top of mind. In other words, mastering marketing, product development, sales, and other areas are crucial in growth hacking. Books like Explosive Growth by Cliff Lerner offer a personal narrative to give you a behind-the-scenes look inside a fast-growing startup that created the first online dating app and grew to 100 million users.

Smartcuts by Shane Snow analyzes how some highly successful startups go from zero to billions in a matter of months. Additionally, this book shows how innovators and icons make strides by working smarter, not harder.

Books to Read Before Pitching VCs

If you’re at the stage of where you need to raise capital (beyond what you’ve bootstrapped), then knowing how to pitch venture capitalists is a crucial component of moving the needle for your business.

Books like Bargaining for Advantage offer a road map for how to survive and thrive in the sometimes rough-and-tumble world of business negotiation. Venture Deals is an exhaustive guide that covers everything founders need to know about achieving successful funding, including how to understand venture capital deal structures and strategies.

Entrepreneurship and Startup Stories

Success and the path to get there looks different for everyone. Books like Business Model Generation highlight factors that determine the success and failure of business today.

Startupland is Mikkel Svane and Carlye Adler’s unconventional story of founding Zendesk in a Copenhagen loft, how they left secure jobs to start something of their own, and the company’s journey to launching on the NYSE. It’s a relatable story of risking it all and going for broke.

To learn more about the full list check out their guide on startup books.