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Archive for the 'Food' Category

Brunch with a cup o’Darjeeling organic tea + local-egg salad

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015
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Riin of Happy Fuzzy Yarn + I met up last night. My glasses match her hair!

Monday, December 28th, 2015
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A huge cup of tea + a tiny brownie

Monday, December 28th, 2015
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Recipe: Rustic Italian Bean “Dip”

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

rustic beansMy friend and student Gwen asked me to give her this recipe today. It goes over extremely well when I bring it to gatherings.

Coarsely-blended beans, olives and Italian seasonings meld together into a wonderful mixture. Use it as a dip for pita or corn chips, pair it with eggs at breakfast or substitute for refried beans in tostadas or burritos.

I make a lot and then freeze some for later. I think it tastes better after freezing, somehow the flavors bloom with time.

There are many ingredients in this recipe, but the actual preparation takes almost no time.

Rustic Italian-Seasoned Bean “Dip”
3 (15-oz) cans Pinto beans (or one larger can, ~ 3lb)
1 (15-oz) can Black (California) Olives (optional, but it brings a lot of flavor to the mix)
1/4c to 1/3c Tomato Paste (or a small can- I buy qt jars at a Halal/Mideastern market and freeze ahead of time)
3/8 c Water
3/8 c (6 Tbsp) Juice from Olives (or more water and a few dashes of salt)
1/4 c Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tbsp Basil
Optional: 1/2 tsp Thyme or 1/4 tsp Rosemary, crushed

rustic beansDrain and rinse beans. In a large bowl, place all ingredients. With stick blender, blend until chunky but fully blended.

Chill or heat. Serve with tortilla chips, pita bread, wrapped in any tortilla or lawash you like, or wrap in a clear rice/tapioca “spring roll wrapper” from the Asian market. OR serve with eggs and avocados for a hearty brunch!

Recipe: Pumpkin-Comfort Tapioca Pudding

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Brrr! Time to Warm Up.

Cold-Weather Comfort Food

Both pumpkin and traditional (homemade) tapioca pudding are comfort foods for me. If you have only ever had tapioca pudding from the deli case, we are not talking about the same thing – I won’t eat that gummy, gluey stuff. This simple version is more like a firm custard than the deli namesake, and it has much smaller bits of tapioca.

finished pudding cold

What’s more, this recipe has 4 ingredients in all, and those are one-ingredient ingredients (canned pumpkin contains only pumpkin, tapioca is dried cassava-root starch, sugar is sugar, and this particular soy milk is soy… and water… if you count water). No preservatives, no thickeners, flavorings or the like. Yes, it’s sweet. However, there is no junk in it… no xanthan gum, no corn syrup…! Real food.

Three is a Charm

I’ve been making tapioca puddings for a long time. When I was allergic to cow’s milk, I posted a rich recipe I developed for LynnH’s Sinful Coconut/Vanilla Tapioca Pudding here. That was in February 2003, when we thought Coconut Oil was a bad thing for hearts. A dozen years later, it’s a fad food for health. Go figure!

The First Version

I had a recipe for Brown Sugar Tapioca Pudding in my holiday dessert cookbook “I Can Eat These!” a handful of years ago. I’ve been making that quite often when I feel chilled to the bone or need comfort.

Then one night I wondered if I could make it with pumpkin. Oh, my goodness!!! I may never make it without again! (If you don’t have pumpkin, you can omit it and change the sugar to only 1/2 cup, and you’ll have my original recipe.)

pudding ingredients

Above you see the only ingredients in this pudding. Regardless of what type of milk you choose, be sure to use one with no sweeteners. Mine is soy, with two ingredients: Soybeans and water. If you prefer, I have a few friends who used a box of almond milk instead of the soy and loved it. Just one box (4 cups) of some sort of milk product will do, though I am guessing that some rice milks might be a bit too thin.
pudding done boiling hard
Celiac-friendly
Vegan-friendly
Gluten-free
No Corn
Dairy Optional
No Egg
No Potato
Soy Optional
No Tree Nuts
No Wheat
No Yeast

Pumpkin-Comfort Tapioca Pudding

Dry Ingredients
1/2 c Minute Tapioca (granules)
3/4 c Brown Sugar (I prefer dark)

Wet Ingredients

1 box (4 cups) unsweetened Soy Milk (or sub almond milk or other type you tolerate, but not lowfat)
1 small/ 15-oz can (1-3/4c) Pumpkin (not pie mix, just one ingredient)

Combine

Mix dry ingredients coarsely in standard-sized round crockpot/slow cooker. Add pumpkin and stir. Add milk (I add half a box at a time, stirring each time).

Crock Pot/Slow Cooker method

Turn pot on high. Set buzzer for 20 minutes.

When buzzer goes off, stir again. place clean cloth over pot to prevent spitting. Set buzzer for 30 minutes. When buzzer goes off, open the lid and look for boiling against the edges of the pot. It should boil significantly on the edges but don’t expect it in the middle (the heat is in the walls of the pot). After inspecting, stir again. It is probably not done yet… it should look like the photo above. There should be resistance against your stirring utensil as you stir, and it should be sticky with small clumps on your stirrer.

At this point, set your buzzer for every 10-15 minutes and evaluate/stir again. It will thicken after cooling, but tastes better if the pumpkin and milk meld together in the heat.

When it is clear that the mixture has boiled at the edges (the color of the mixture near the boiling edge will be darker in color, as you can see in the photo above), turn off the pot. If you can remove the crock from the heating element, do so. Leave the lid off for about 15 minutes.

At 15 minutes, if you like the cooled/thickened crust on top, skim it off and eat it! If you prefer it all to be smooth,

finished pudding hot

stir it in. Either cool it further or eat warm. The final photo shows the texture of the pudding after being partially cooled. The photo at the very top of this post shows it after being cooled overnight.

Stovetop Method

If you have no crock pot, you can cook in a 3-4 quart double boiler with the same instructions as above. If you have no double boiler, place on a stove burner at a very low setting and stir at least every 5 minutes to keep it from burning on. When it’s cooked per the description above, cool 15 minutes and stir or not, as described above.

Note: This pudding must be refrigerated if you do not eat it immediately.

Makes: Approx. 8 (eight) servings, about 1/2 cup each.

Enjoy!!! Share!!! This is yummy to anyone, not just those with food restrictions.

Maintenance Monday: Mystery

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Today’s Maintenance Monday is brought to you by mysterious items in the freezer.

It is also brought to you by crockpot soup! Sweet potato, crowder peas, 1.5 cups of broth and some greens/ sauteed onion.

Most of the ingredients came from the freezer and were taking up more space than their contents deserved. All of them will taste better together tonight when Brian and I sit down to eat them.

(The items shown actually were two jars of homemade pumpkin butter, and one jar of unsweetened cranberry juice. Those did not go in the soup. Thank goodness for that!)

What is This?
I started naming my days, at least some of them, a few years ago. The more I use the concepts, the more I actually get done when I’m alone and in charge of “what do I do next?”

Maintenance Mondays can be about balancing a checkbook, confirming my schedule for the next 10 days or so, handling backed up laundry or handwash, finally hanging that poster on the wall after months of intending to do it.

Today besides my freezer adventure, I did some computer work and made a few appointments.

What do you think of this idea? Could it help you, too?

Recipe: Rave-Review GF Biscuit Balls

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

biscuit balls Here we are in the holidays… and there are gatherings to attend. I have a lot of food restrictions and so I often bring my own goodies. Also, I’m having a fair number of friends over just a few at a time. I love to make biscuits (and sometimes soup) to keep it simple.

I don’t like sticky hands, so I’m not into kneading dough. Also, since I’m using non-wheat ingredients things bake better in smaller portions. No monster biscuits here. Big ones just don’t cook through to the middle until the edges are too dry.

Regardless of their quirks, these get excellent reviews. If you don’t like them to be balls, just squish them a little bit on top with the back of the scoop. I sort of like them this way!

Lynn’s Rave-Review GF Biscuit Balls

scant 1c Tapioca FLOUR/starch (powder, buy at healthy grocery or Asian market)
Scant 3/4 c Sorghum flour
1/4 c Navy Bean flour or Garbanzo flour
1/8 c Flaxseed meal (golden if you don’t like flecks showing)
optional: 1/8 c Teff flour for protein and brown color
1/2 tsp each: baking soda, cream of tartar, salt
1/4 c oil: any high-heat-friendly (grapeseed, sunflower or safflower)
3/4 or just a bit more very hot water

Preheat 375F
Prepare baking pan with light misting of oil. (Though I show a muffin pan, you can use a cookie sheet just as easily.)

Blend all dry ingredients in medium mixing bowl.
Add liquid ingredients, blend with fork until fully mixed. Let sit a few minutes to saturate flours fully.
Oil a 2 Tbsp scoop or a 1/8 c measuring cup (coffee measure). Drop by slightly-rounded scoops. Should make a dozen.

Bake for 13 minutes. They won’t look baked at all, but a toothpick will pull out clean and they should smell a little dry or toasty.

Pumpkin SoupCool at least so that you don’t burn yourself before diving in… OK? I love them with real butter or homemade pumpkin butter. They make an excellent pair with my equally-highly-reviewed Pumpkin Soup.

Problem Solving = Creativity = Good Party

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

EricMomMe450MomCake80th450

Wow! Mom’s party was such a great experience! She had such fun seeing friends from so many parts of her life and her past. She’s a lovely person, and her friends are excellent company.

I am painfully inexperienced at planning parties/gatherings. This special occasion was the perfect time to just dive in and learn. If creativity is problem solving (I believe it is), I got an excellent lesson in creativity while putting this together.

The Perfect Cake

My dear friend April loves to bake and decorate cakes. It’s her primary visual artform. She volunteered to bake the cake for Mom’s party.

Just look at how beautiful that cake is! The flower decorations and her plate look so perfect together. April thought of Mom the whole time she made it. Even the frosting was custom for her. It was moist and tasty, too. We got nice comments on it all day.Cake80th450

I fond those curlicue candles somewhere, years ago. They were just waiting for this event, don’t you think?

Music

A few times during the party, Mom asked Brian and I to sing. Many of her friends had never heard us sing before! It was a joy and an honor to do that for her. After all, she paid for uncountable voice lessons for me over many years… decades, even.

Heftones80thFireplace450Minor Freakout

Thursday I found myself at the food co-op trying to figure out how much to buy. I had a moment of thinking “why did I think I could figure this out?” After all, our family includes me and Brian, Mom and Fred, and brother Eric and his wife Diana. We six people are  the entire roster of all of our relatives in the entire state of Michigan.

I realized that although I’ve had parties before, they were always potluck. When guests bring food, you end up with enough to go around. I was puzzled and a little freaked out standing there at the store.

I called one of Brian’s sisters who entertains often and well. When she didn’t answer, I called Diana. She helped me figure out how much I might need. I ended up with a 7-pound bag of carrots, a few bunches of celery, and two gallons of organic apple juice (to be mixed with unsweetened soda water).

In the end, we had more food than necessary. This is a high class problem! Food80th450We’re still eating carrot sticks 3 days after the party, and that is after we gave some away. I’ll return some of the unopened items as well.

Planning Challenges

Decorating rooms is not one of my skills. I’m not a big fan of decorations that get thrown away. Candles please me, but they didn’t seem right for this event.

Finally the answers came to me… balloons for the table decorations would be perfect. Facebook friends directed me to a place nearby that would be open in the morning when I needed to pick them up.

The Corsage Dilemma

Mom doesn’t love the disposable nature of flowers, and also often has an allergic reaction to them. I wanted her to have a corsage.

I figured out that maybe a ribbon of some sort might make a good corsage. I have a lot of satin ribbon here at the house, but not in the colors I wanted to use.

Finally it hit me that the curlicue ribbons available for wrapping packages might work well. The balloon store also had ribbons of that sort. I bought two and stuck them together to get colors which suit Mom. Yay! She loved it.

GuestBook80th450Very Special Guest Book

It occurred to me that Mom would value a guest book for this occasion. First I asked her if she had one of her own. She did not.

After thinking about options, I remembered that I had a beautiful handmade paper/hand-sewn book. It was made by Susan Hensel, an artist friend who used to live in town but now lives in Minneapolis. The book was perfect for the event, with a dark blue cover and pale turquoise and white pages. Yay!

A Mistake

The one thing that went wrong was minor. I used Mom’s ring molds to make 2 ice rings for the punch bowl. I found some organic green grapes which might look nice frozen with juice. I figured the grapes might thaw more slowly than a liquid.

I had purchased one lime, intending to slice it thin and float the slices in the apple juice/soda water punch. At the last minute I had a doubt that the ice ring would look festive enough. (Note that this happened well after midnight, not a great time for changing plans.)

I sliced the lime and added it to the ring, put it in the freezer, and went to bed. The next morning, it was not frozen.

It may be that our 2nd freezer is not as cold as the first. However, the consensus was that citrus takes a lot longer to freeze than water.

Live and learn! I was freaked out for a few minutes. Then I realized that the party’s success was not dependent on ice.

I’m glad I was able to get to that thought rather quickly. There was a time I would have obsessed over the one imperfection instead of enjoying the many successes of the day.

PS

You may know that my favorite color is turquoise. Take a look at these photos, and notice that I came to that preference  honestly!

MomFred80th450

Dinner Salad as Art

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Oh, the summer! I love the foods of the season.

This Wednesday, a dance friend shared her abundance of romaine lettuce with me. I went home with the freshly-cut lettuce and no other dinner plans. It was hot. Salad for dinner on the porch sounded perfect to me.

Now, I’m not a big fan of meat but I wanted a filling salad to make into dinner. I raided the refrigerator to see what I might find.

I found: 1 hard-boiled egg, hemp seed hearts (high protein/mineral content and buttery texture), one carrot.

This wasn’t quite enough for two people to fill up at dinner. I know that seeds are particularly high food value, and so I got into the cupboard for pepitas (pumpkin seeds without shells). I also found a can of black olives to add a little healthy oil and flavor.

At that point, it looked really tasty but not yet filling enough. If we had some canned beans such as garbanzo beans/chickpeas or fava beans, I would have put those on it. I had no luck in the bean department so I searched my mind a little. Enter the freezer! I thawed about 2/3 of a cup of green peas to divide between us.

At this point it looked filling and tasty. I’m not a vinegar fan (and it doesn’t work well with my allergies) so I prefer very good olive oil as the basis of my dressing. Since it’s summer, we have a few herbs growing well outside right now, so I picked some fresh dill weed and cut that up with scissors.

The final touches were a sprinkling of Gomasio (crushed sesame seeds and sea salt, available from Eden Foods at most food co-ops and healthy stores… or online at EdenFoods.com

YUMMY Pumpkin Pie for the Food-Restricted

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

I am a Thanksgiving baby. I was born the day after Thanksgiving, and this year my day falls exactly on the US holiday.

I love pumpkin everything. I don’t know if that has to do with the timing of my birthday, but it may. I want pumpkin pie instead of birthday cake. Yum!

However, about 8-10 years ago I got socked with a long list of “normal” foods which typically make me feel crummy. Pumpkin was fine, but for 5 years I could not eat dairy or eggs (and a host of other things).

I got diagnosed in early spring. I knew I had to figure out how to make pumpkin pie so that in late November I could have my birthday pie.

I made some HORRIBLE pies. There was one I would not even eat, it was throw-food-away worthy, and I’m not one to waste. However, I think I’ve got it down now.

My beloved Brian loves pie. He’s tasted a lot of pumpkin pies in the last several years, and his vote is for this recipe, despite its limited ingredients.

This recipe can be used for vegans, celiacs/other gluten-free eaters, lactose-intolerant folks, and the rest of us with a lot of limitations. I use soy milk. Any milk with a lot of particulate matter should work… almond or oat milks might also substitute well. I’m a bit skeptical about rice milk here, though… it’s pretty thin.

Please: Pass this recipe around! There are SO many people who need something they can eat happily and without reaction! I want to help those who will be tempted to cheat (and feel lousy afterwards) during the holidays. If you want to print it or send to a friend, and you know how to download a document, here is a PDF Adobe Acrobat version for you:

LynnH’s No Nothin’ Pumpkin Pie Recipe in PDF format

It’s one thing to stay away from a restaurant where you can’t eat, or perhaps to choose the right thing from many choices on a cafeteria line. It’s another thing to sit in the same room with Grandma’s pie, for hours and hours while idly chatting with family members (who are eating the forbidden).

If there is no healthy choice, some of us will choose to eat food which makes us suffer in the long run. I love bringing pie to holiday gatherings, and then I can eat without pain.

Note: This is not diabetic friendly as written. It’s dessert, and it has brown sugar in it. The sugar is not required for browning, so you may be able to figure out how to adjust it for your own needs. Maybe adding some fruit juice or unsweetened applesauce and letting it cook down a little longer would work, but I have not tried that myself.

That said, please enjoy!

LynnH’s No-Nothin’ Pumpkin Pie

I was born the day after Thanksgiving. This is my “Birthday Pie” every year. Cake, I can live without. Pumpkin pie, never.

At a potluck with many pumpkin pies, my pie-afficionado husband declared that he liked this one as well or better than the others. I consider that a blue ribbon.

Makes two 9″ pies

Main Ingredients:
2 Unbaked Pie Crusts in 9″ pans (make or buy one you can tolerate, there are Gluten-free and Spelt versions in the healthy food store’s freezer department)

1-3/4 cup Soy milk (Unsweetened—I use Westsoy Organic.) If you tolerate dairy
milk, goat milk, Oat Milk or Almond milk, they should substitute well. I have not tried them.
1/2 cup Golden Flaxseed Meal (dark works, but the filling appearance is speckled)
3-1/2 cup (2 sm 15oz cans or 1 lg 30oz can) Solid Pack Pumpkin (not pie mix)
2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt (optional)

Spices, as desired (leave out some or change amounts):
1-1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Ginger Powder
1/8 tsp Cloves

  • Preheat oven to 375F / 190C.
  • If you are making your own crusts, make them now. If you purchased frozen crusts, pull them out and separate them while frozen.
  • Measure soy milk into large measuring cup or small bowl. Slowly mix in flaxseed meal (I use a wire whisk).
  • In large bowl, place all other ingredients. Add milk/flax mixture (above) and blend thoroughly with whisk.
  • Fill unbaked pie crusts with filling. Cover edges with foil (optional) for the first 45 minutes in the oven.
  • Bake. Depending on the moisture content of your ingredients, it will take no less than 50 minutes and easily an hour or more. When the very center of the pie filling is boiling energetically, it is done. Do not be too eager, it’s tastier if you let the center truly cook through. It caramelizes… yum!
  • Let the pie cool. Refrigerating overnight will help it cut perfectly.

Note: My pie pans are glass/pyrex. Your baking times may be different if your pans are metal or ceramic.

A Halloween Laugh

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Oh my gosh, this is so funny I’m laughing out loud.

My first trick-or-treaters came at 10 after six. It was a group of about seven older kids.

I went to the door and said “I’ve got stickers! Do you want smiley faces or flags?”

They all turned around and ran away….
Then two boys came back and asked for smiley faces.

I’m laughing so hard I don’t need any more trick-or-treaters to make it an excellent night!

Photo: Pumpkin pie transformed into a smiley face/ jack o’lantern by Brian when I wasn’t looking one day. He keeps me smiling.

The pie was made with an allergy-friendly, celiac-friendly, vegan pie recipe I developed when I couldn’t have milk or eggs. Try my recipe for LynnH’s No-Nothin’ Pumpkin Pie

Let Us Eat Cake! (Gluten-Free/ Allergy Friendly)

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Last week, our Thursday night knit group had two members with a birthday. I figure if I don’t make the cake, I can’t eat it because of all my allergies/ sensitivities. Naturally, I volunteered.

In addition, one of the birthday girls is celiac, which means she can’t have even a speck of gluten. I can’t have xanthan gum (often made from fermented corn, which I can’t have on two counts). Most commercial gluten free baking mixes contain it.

In order to get a tasty cake which was not too fragile, I’ve had to tweak and experiment with flours and binding agents. This recipe has flaxseed meal, sweet white rice flour and oil to do the job.

This is my current rendition of chocolate cake for those with food restrictions. It has a lot of  ingredients in it, and most kitchens won’t have these flours in house (I use them often). This is the first cake I’ve made that was sturdy enough to stand up to having frosting spread upon it, and it is tasty as well. Yeah!

I put a standard old-fashioned buttercream frosting on this cake, reduced to about 1/4 of a standard frosting batch since I only needed to frost the top of one layer. The end result? This cake was fully devoured by the end of the night.

If you do want buttercream frosting, make sure to plan ahead and pull that butter out of the refrigerator so it can soften naturally to room temperature. The microwave will ruin the butter for this purpose.

Tough but Luscious Chocolate Cake for Everyone

(Make sure all flours say certified gluten free on bag, if for a Celiac person.)
Makes one 9″ layer, to be served in its baking pan.

Dry Ingredients:
1/4 c Sorghum Flour
1/4 c Baking Cocoa Powder
2 Tbsp Flaxseed Meal
3/4 c Buckwheat flour (only Arrowhead Mills is certified Gluten Free)
1/4 c Brown Rice Flour (Used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 c SWEET White Rice Flour (must say sweet or sticky)
3/4 c White Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
(can replace Soda+Tartar with 3/4 tsp of Baking Powder)
2-4 Shakes Salt

Wet Ingredients:
6 Tbsp Oil (I used Olive, you can’t taste it with the cocoa powder)
1 c Water

Preheat oven to 350F. If you will be making buttercream frosting, take butter out of refrigerator now.

Oil pan: I use a 9″ glass pie plate, or use a 9″ cake pan (if not glass it will have a different baking time).

Sift lumpy flours into baking pan: I put the sorghum, cocoa and flaxseed meal in a screen-type strainer and pressed them through with the back of a large spoon, to remove large bits & lumps (toss whole flax that won’t pass through the screen). This makes it mix more completely and eliminates dry-flour bubbles.

Add other dry ingredients to baking pan. Mix thoroughly with small wire whisk or fork.

Add wet ingredients and mix with fork in pan, checking corners for dry spots.

Shake pan *for a few seconds only* to bring larger bubbles to the top of the batter. Use dry fork tine or toothpick to break the bubbles. If you don’t do this, it will be fragile to frost.

Use paper towel to wipe up uneven splashes of batter on the edges of the pan. I just hold my right hand with the towel still, and spin the pan around with my left hand.

Bake for about 30 minutes. It is done when a toothpick at center pulls out clean. You can often smell the “toasty” baking smell when it’s done, usually just before the timer goes off.

Cool thoroughly. If it’s not room temperature when you go to frost it, you’ll have a fragile mess with crumbs in the frosting.

Serve without frosting if you wish, or add homemade buttercream frosting (not vegan because of the dairy products, but there is nothing more delicious).

Top-One-Layer Buttercream Frosting (for the corn-allergic & celiacs)

1/2 stick (1/4 c) Lightly Salted Butter, softened at room temperature – do not melt!
1 cup Corn-Free Confectioners/Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract (gluten free)
appx. 1 Tbsp. Milk

Place butter in mixing bowl. Use back of large spoon to stir butter until it softens up and is more creamy than resistant. Add sugar in several small batches, mixing until smooth by pressing and smoothing with the back of the spoon. It will feel at first as though there is far too much sugar for the butter, but slowly it will incorporate if you stay with it.

Add vanilla and a teaspoon or so of milk, and mix again until smooth. At this point, determine if the frosting needs more milk to be soft enough to spread without breaking apart the top of your cake layer. Keep adding milk a small bit at a time and mixing until the frosting looks not quite wet and seems spreadable. If necessary, you can add a little more sugar to bring it back to a proper texture.

Let the frosting sit for a few minutes to let the sugar melt and mellow with the liquid. Make sure your cake is fully cooled.

Use a soft rubber spatula and a very light hand to spread the frosting on your cake. Longer strokes often are more gentle to the top of the cake (which is fragile and will want to crumble and mix into your frosting). Worst case, let the crumbs just be there and consider adding mini-chocolate chips on the top as decoration. Make sure the chips are certified gluten free and don’t have corn syrup in them, if you go that route.

====

If you are new to this sort of baking, many healthy-food groceries will carry all of these ingredients for you. If you have nothing like that near you, try Bob’s Red Mill online. It’s an employee-owned company with great customer service and fine quality.

Enjoy your cake! I’m sure you will.

My Favorite Day – Thankfulness

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

I love Thanksgiving. I love to give thanks for many things and good people in my life.

It’s not about food. It’s not about tradition (we had x dessert last year, we must have x dessert again this year). It’s not about overdoing. It’s not about TV or sports or parades. It’s not about decorating my yard for this holiday or the next. It’s not about planning what to buy Friday. It’s about thankfulness.

I will NOT be getting up early to cook. I will not be eating food I don’t like just because it’s a tradition. I will complete my 53rd year without having ever baked a turkey (ugh).

I will soak in peace and quiet and time with my beloved. We’ll either buy food from a favorite locally-owned restaurant on Wednesday and heat it up Thursday, or we’ll cook something simple but yummy. (Pancake breakfast? Pumpkin soup and biscuits perhaps?)

I will go for a walk and remember that some people I love can not walk. I will be grateful for my working feet and legs.

I will thank people in my life for being special. I will be grateful for another day on this earth.

May you find the simple meaning of Thanksgiving in your life this week. Even if you are not from the USA, it’s a great idea to contemplate.

I appreciate you. Thank you.

Hugs,
Lynn

Purple House, Persian Food – Montreal #1

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Montreal. It’s wonderful. I am here to write a travelogue/ series of patterns about my African trip, while sort of living a 2nd travelogue. I sure am taking a lot of photos!

Photos can be a full-time job, at least the way my brain goes about it. I may upload  some Flickr collections once I see what categories there may logically be.

Meanwhile… there is a lot more purple paint in Montreal per square kilometer, than there is in Lansing, Michigan. Here’s the first photo. I found it not far from a subway stop.

Balconies are everywhere. The duplex where I’m staying has 3 balconies and a deck, two for each unit. It’s a wonderful way to live. People are out on balconies wherever you go, and that makes for more inadvertent “neighborhood watch” potential. Very liveable.

This city is also incredibly walkable and bikeable. Everywhere you go, there are folks walking… even at midnight. There are also bike lanes wherever I go, and bike-share/rentals available.

I love this. It feels so much more safe than being a solitary walker when in unfamiliar territory.

I ate Persian/ Iranian food last night. It was wonderful. I had tea in glass cups as in Egypt… and two dishes made of eggplant. The one cut into a wedge was eggs and eggplant, and it was magnificent. I must look into possible recipes.

I’d love to eat at a different restaurant every day (even a different world cuisine), but since I’m here for 2 weeks that would break the bank. Food is more costly here than at home, at least at first glance. I did find a shopping center which is walking distance, and will see what their grocery store has to offer.

Restaurant foods have been pricier than home, even at restaurants rated by Urban Spoon as inexpensive. The Canadian dollar is worth $0.99 USD so the exchange is not bad, but their sales taxes are much higher than ours in Michigan.

I’ve heard at least 5 languages in a few days here. I LOVE this. The world is a wonderful place, full of wonderful people in all sorts of cultures. They get along pretty well here, and I’m digging that.

And as for speaking English… if I’m polite and apologize for not speaking French, I’m experiencing politeness. One ticket-seller at the metro/subway did have a different response (with a smile). I said “I’m sorry, I don’t speak French.” He said “Why?” followed by a laugh. He said he was from the Former Yugoslavia. Then we did business… in English.

French pronunciation is hard for me, still. I’m starting to do OK with translating some signs, and did pretty well with a menu at the Persian eatery before being brought one in English.

Oh, I could talk forever! However, it’s time to return to my task at hand. See you soon!