That time of year

When it gets colder, thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Caillou’s holiday movie is on. Yes, I said the c-word. Parents everywhere are crying in their coffee mugs, counting the minutes until their next glass of bourbon or their AA meeting. 

And not even thanksgiving yet. 

I haven’t truly looked forward to a thanksgiving meal in some time. I’ve wanted to host one for years, pretty much since I’ve been diet challenged. My ex MIL made an effort, and I always appreciated it but I’d always feel like I brought half my kitchen over. This year, I was informed I was obligated to attend my sister’s meal. Ok, fine. I live in a small apartment, not conducive to ten kids and 8 adults. It makes sense to not host it. But I asked for the menu, and I’ll get to eat turkey, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, which I will have to bring my own margarine. That’s it. Probably no gravy, even. I got snark from another sister about how dairy free mashed potatoes aren’t real mashed potatoes. Lord in heaven. If I didn’t have my kids that day, it wouldn’t even be a question, I wouldn’t go.

So I invited Lover over the night before, and will cook a wonderful dinner to my liking and needs. I’m pretty excited about that. Here is the positive in this whole thing, I get to host a small meal, for the two of us. We get leftovers. And then, I’ll go to my sister’s, and will enjoy the family time. No worries about eating. I don’t expect anyone to accommodate me, but it’s unbelievably hard to sit at a table and watch everyone eating food that looks and smells amazing while you can’t eat it.

I know, thanksgiving is about gratitude, not the food. I am so grateful I have a family I can spend thanksgiving with. I love my sisters dearly. I have a wonderful life I only hoped for, but never thought I would actually have. I want to be the person who finds the way to make it happen, whatever “it” is. Who won’t bitch about a meal she can’t eat most of, because she’s with a family who wants her there.
Anyway, I survived one round of Caillou. 2 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes and 46 seconds til my next meeting. 

Day 102

Homemade pizza. Dare I say, all things wonderful come to mind? Paired with Stranger Things 2, a warm cat, and snuggly Lover, and all is set for an amazing cold November evening.

I use a recipe for crust coming from Bette Hageman’s cookbook, The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread. I have no permissions to post that recipe, but you can get it if you choose by buying her book. 

I also make mine amazing by brushing the crust after par baking with olive oil infused with garlic, Italian seasoning and some salt. It gives it that extra crunch and sooo good. Tonight, since my dairy eating Lover is over, I made two crusts, one which will have fresh mozzarella and the other with Daiya mozzarella. Toppings include diced green pepper, onion, mushrooms, garlic, pepperoni. I’m so stoked. Almost as much as I am to watch Stranger Things. 

First we par bake the dough

Then we add the toppings

Then we bake it

Omg. So. Amazing. 

1. Woke up in my favorite way. Slept in. Had an amazing breakfast of egg scramble with oatmeal that had cranberry sauce mixed in.

2. A long hot shower. So lovely. Apartment living has it’s benefits. There is unending hot water. 

3. Dance lessons. I am now learning ballroom dancing. Learned the foxtrot, the ballero (?), the hustle and a few steps on west coast swing. It was so fun! Practicing at home after as well. I’m really into it. Lover and I are working out more lessons.

4. Dessert. Still working on finishing off that lovely dessert A and I made. 

5. Snuggles and Stranger Things. Plus daylight savings made it seem to me like I got to stay up later. That’s a huge plus.

Also, got a refresher on Sandy B. on one of the car rides. I forgot how good he is. I’m hoping I can listen to more of it soon. Those are available from the Gopher State tape library…and possibly from other AA sources but I know for sure Gopher State. It’s worth a listen. 

Day 101

November…cold…cloudy…cold…

I like how November brings things I love. Like Thanksgiving. (Food) Christmas cookie baking after thanksgiving. (More food) Inevitable weight gain from all the food. (An extra layer of warmth from the food? A girl has to stay warm)

Today I did some online grocery shopping, and started buying some of the essentials I will need when I start making cookies. I freaking looove making Christmas cookies. I make all of them to my dietary standards, then give them out to my similarly restricted friends. The feeling I get when I can give delicious cookies to people who would ordinarily not get to eat them because of the ingredients is phenomenal. This year, I made a new vegan friend, and it has me thinking…how much would it change things to remove eggs from the cookies? Or at least, some of them. My goal for the next week or two is to try out a new recipe or two that is eggless, in hopes I can bring holiday cheer to the vegan in my life.

So, apparently A was thinking the same thoughts I was, and asked if we could bake tonight after I picked her up from daycare. Well, of course kid. So I ask her what she wants to make. Cookies? Brownies? Cake? She asks for chocolate and vanilla and cherries. Huh. Ok. So then we start brainstorming. Can we make brownie layers with cherries in the middle? No, she says. Vanilla layer, then chocolate then cherry. 

At first I thought about vanilla cake on top of a brownie layer, but then I got to thinking…what if there is such a thing as vanilla brownies? Googled. They exist. Damn! I had NO idea. So I grabbed a recipe for them, and layered it up with a brownie recipe, slapped some cherry pie filling on top.

Omg.

I don’t even know what to call this. I don’t know if it’s been done before. Neapolitan brownies? Maybe?

So effing good. A thought it needed whipped cream on top. I think she’s correct, but I don’t have any right now. If there are any left tomorrow I’m going to make that happen. No question. That’s my kid. I couldn’t be more proud.

Vanilla layer:

2/3 c rice flour

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

3/4 tsp baking powder 

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 c earth balance

1/3 c white sugar

1/3 c brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

Mixed, spread in 13×9 pan, greased.

Chocolate layer

2oz bakers chocolate 

1/4 c earth balance, melted with the chocolate in the microwave (because that’s how I roll)

1 c white sugar

1 egg plus 1 egg white

1tsp vanilla

1/2 c rice flour (I use Flying Horse brand. It’s so fine it’s like powdered sugar)

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

Dash salt.

I layered this on top of the vanilla layer, baked at 350f for 30 minutes. I feel like it needed an extra 5 though, because it was a tad undertone in the middle, but as you wish. Cooled, then slapped the can of cherry pie filling on top. Next time I might whip the pie filling in with some coconut whipped cream. 

Day 87

Ok. Somebody needs to cut me off.

Apple cinnamon donuts 

You’re going to have to roll me to my car so I can go to work tomorrow.

I based the recipe on the pumpkin maple glazed donut recipe from Oh She Glows, but made some changes, like making it gluten free. And making with Apple instead of pumpkin. 

1/2 tsp vinegar, 6 tbsp almond milk, 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp unsweetened applesauce, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp earth balance, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup white rice flour, 1/2 cup oat flour.

Baked at 350 for 12 minutes

If I had half a brain I would have put a 1/4 tsp xanthan gum in, but I didn’t so they’re crumbly but so so delicious. Dipped in melted earth balance and cinnamon sugar.

So good.

1. Eggs fried in bacon grease on “girlfriend bread”, aka gluten free. Delicious.

2. Taco Tuesday! 

3. A’s dance night! She’s so effing cute in her leotard and tights. 

4. Fucking donuts. I need a bakers anonymous meeting. Still positive though. The reactions from Hannah and A were worth it 100 percent.

5. Hannah came over and hung out. She watched Barbie movies with A while I did dishes, then we looked through photo albums from when we were in high school and younger. I must say, we were awesome even when we were awkward. But thank sweet baby Jesus we don’t look like that anymore!

Edit: listening to Sugarray Rayford, The World that We Live In. Dirty bluesy goodness. I recommend.

Day 81

I mentioned a few days ago that I *might* have a baking problem.

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

I totally have a baking problem.

Yesterday I made candy bars. I didn’t actually bake them though, so does it count? Today…baked some millet bread. And made soup. Delicious ham and lentil soup. Previous attempts at millet bread led to dry loaves. Edible, but dry. Today’s attempt was slightly better. 

God, this soup is good.


1. The cat isn’t dead. I was concerened he might be seriously injured when he acted like a drunk kitty and we had an emergency vet run. But he seems fine now. No idea why he had the issue, but he’s ok and that’s what matters.

2. Lunch with my stylist friend Chelsie. We had tacos. Double win.

3. Got rid of all the empty boxes sitting in the living room. 

4. Homemade soup and fresh bread for dinner. Perfection.

5. Working out costumes for Halloween and a theme party coming up. I love costumes, and I want to go all out. I’m so excited!

Day 76

I *may* have a baking problem.

Yesterday I baked bread. And a triple berry crisp.

Today, I did this:
Apple pecan pie.

It’s under cooked.

I had exactly 1 hour before I had to leave before it came out. But, it’s all good. I consulted with my baker friend who told me there are no rules against par baking, so in theory, it should be fine. It’s in round two in the oven right now so we will see. God it smells so good.

1. Yoga, meditation, and breakfast. I only vaguely recall the first two, as I may have still been asleep. But it happened! It was an amazing start to my day.

2. Plan of action regarding my stomach. Blood work, food diary (which I was supposed to do before and didnt), and meds to treat my attacks. Wait and see, I guess.

3. Chickens. My sister’s bought some, and I went to see them on my lunch break. Super cute.


4. Kickball. I got on base 3 out of 4 times which is good. I also umped a themed game, hippies versus hipsters. It was entertaining.

5. Piano practice is going better. I’m learning to play chords with my left while the melody on my right. It’s difficult, but it’s getting better and I’m rather proud of myself. I just have to keep practicing!

Also, fog over the fields was beautiful.

Day 55

So far it’s been a chill, but exhausting day. I got to sleep in (which was wonderful), ate a healthy breakfast and went to sober fit club, which is a local meet up of sober alcoholics that play games like pickup kickball and volleyball in the park every week. I played a few games, got lost in the rain trying to get home (why aren’t the damn freeways marked?), and picked up ingredients to make a cake.

Yes, I’ve got the urge to bake again.

After thinking really hard about what I wanted to make, I decided on a cherry limeade cake, gluten, dairy and soy free of course. I had to pull several recipes from my friend the internet and adapt to my needs, but I think it turned out well.

Cake recipe, adapted from King Arthur Flour’s website 

  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 3 1/4 cups rice flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 4 eggs

Mixed the dry ingredients, then the wet, one egg at a time. Baked 350 for 40 minutes in a 13×9 pan, greased liberally with coconut shortening. 

Then:

  • One package cherry jello
  • One cup boiling water

Dissolved the jello in the water, til clear then poked holes with a butter knife into the cooled cake and poured it into the holes. Yum.

Then! Frosting…

  • Juice and zest of a lime, small
  • Powdered sugar
  • Earth balance soy free margarine

I don’t measure my frosting ingredients. It’s a terrible habit…it never turns put the same way twice but yet I do it every time. I just mix it until it’s the right texture and taste that I want.

So moist and tender, I should have poured all the cherry jello stuff on top. I only did half because it seemed like a lot but it would have been better with all of it.