This spring I’ve had a fascinating class every Tuesday in which we are privileged to observe a counseling session via live video feed. I learn as much about myself as I do about therapy during these times. Since the class is in the middle of the afternoon every Tuesday I have to find someone to hang with the munchkins. My friend Lori has been kind enough to do this many many weeks this spring. This has included such feats as picking the kids up from my school, learning how to install my car seats in her car, somehow convincing the 2 year old to take a nap, and changing and extremely wiggly one year old (not without incident…there was the time that the diaper change was taking place on the master bed and the bed bouncing toddler managed to bounce right onto the poo diaper that has just been removed. Ew. Glad I missed that one…).

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The other day my friend brought us over a treat–little almond butter balls with puffed millet in them. She inspired me to try to recreate the Morning Peanut Butter bars that our local gluten free cafe The Flying Apron makes but as little balls rather than bars.

I’m trying to find more kid friendly things to eat as well as things that are better for me than chocolate or starchy snacks. This is a good sweet treat that is satisfying. I’m still tweaking the amounts, so feel free to play yourself. (Update, I went by Flying Apron later in the afternoon and bought a Morning Peanut Butter bar to compare. They have a lot more mix-ins. Not more ingredients just more densely packed peanut butter. My recipe is now updated to have more “stuff” because it helps with the stickiness and with the sense of too much peanut butter…although both ways are yummy).

Peanut Butter Sticky Balls

1 cup crunchy salted peanut butter (or unsalted. I am, sadly, a salt fiend but unsalted would probably taste a little healthier)

1 cup gluten free rolled oats

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

3/4 cup raisins or golden raisins

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 Tbsp brown rice syrup (or you can probably sub another liquid sweetner)

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Put oatmeal and coconut in the blender to chop up a bit finer. You might want to chop the sunflower seeds a tad as well. Dump and scoop everything into a medium bowl, stir and mix, and then roll into little balls. Place in the fridge and let sit for half a day so the oatmeal absorbs some of the moisture of the peanut butter. You can eat them right away too. We did.

Also, you might prefer to store them in the fridge depending on the season and how warm it is where you are. This makes 18 or so little balls.

I’m still in the thick of applying and interviewing for a fall internship. Hopefully I’ll nail tomorrow’s interview and the search will be over. To be honest, I have only completely thrown myself into one application so far–my top choice–and hopefully i will get the position because just getting my resume, application, AIDS/HIV training required of all WA state health service peeps has taken up a lot of my free time. My reading for classes just hasn’t been happening the past couple of weeks. And my menu plan hasn’t really happened. I’m kinda tired of having to be gluten free these weeks. It is time consuming. My blood sugar keeps doing crazy things. I miss my old snacks. I got cross-contamination at a restaurant meeting friends from out of town. I’ve gained weight since going off gluten. (I needed some back but now I’m getting worried it’ll keep on coming on). And I’m busy. It is tough to keep up with all the things I need to keep up with and eat well. Tonight I opted for baking over studying so that as I hit another full week I’ll have some happy snacks. But then I worry that I’ll be eating too much starch, so I also made a big bowl of salad to have handy in the fridge. And apples. And peanut butter. Someday I’ll figure all of this out a little more.

Hopefully next week I’ll be back on track with menus and a new recipe. And if not, hopefully I’ll be okay with that.

Last week was a slow recovery from the good foods of Easter weekend. This weekend was spent writing a resume and filling out an application for a counseling internship. BUT we still need to eat, so here’s my best attempt at a menu for our week:

The Menu

Monday–quinoa, carrot and potato soup. Simple, warm and basic.

Tuesday–black bean and sweet potato tacos

Wednesday–slow cooked Rosemary lamb shanks with garlic potatoes, some other veggie and Kate’s millet quinoa bread, an adaptation of Natalie’s great oat millet bread. (I’m currently out of oats so I’m going into new territory with the quinoa flour)

Thursday–class. Maybe I’ll make a pizza ahead of time.

Friday–Sea’s spinach cottage pie. I’m a sucker for caramelized onions.

It just keeps raining and snowing and being generally nasty here in Seattle. The cherry trees are glorious but who wants to go sit under them when it is 40 degrees and raining? However, I just heard thunder for the second time this week and that almost makes it worthwhile. It almost never thunders here and it is surprising how much I miss it.

I look forward to getting past this season of applying for internships and writing papers. I don’t have much left over for cooking. Of course, then the weather will get nice and I’ll want to stay out on the playground with the kids until the sun goes down. I might just be in trouble until next October.

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When Jeff and I were planning our honeymoon, we knew we wanted to go somewhere out of the country. Jeff had grown up in Peru but beyond that had only been to the States and Mexico. I myself am addicted to international travel and need very little excuse to experience another country. We only had a week to travel and we didn’t want to spend the whole time on planes. Initially we thought about British Columbia, but in the end we decided to go to Ireland. Sadly, I was wiped out from the wedding that continued to be exhausted most of the trip. But Ireland was beautiful. Seeing the countryside and eating the food at the beginning of our marriage has certainly added a certain flavor to our relationship. We added braised beef in guinness and Irish stew to our regular meal rotation. Jeff is makes a mean Irish soda bread. However, Guinness and true soda bread is off the menu now. We have some lamb in the freezer, though, so I should make some Irish stew here soon. And, Karina–bless her–posted a scrumptious sounding Irish potato and cabbage soup along with a GF soda bread recipe. Therefore, in honor of our marriage, memories and travel, good Irish food, and St. Patrick’s day I’m going to try my hand at making her recipe this week. However, I don’t have any Van Morrison to play, as she recommends. I think I’ll have to put on Once in the background. And after dinner we might just have to pull our slides of the Irish countryside.

Hopefully I can get the family fed despite my having 3 different night that events will keep me away during the dinner to bedtime hours. And we have a new goal of trying to think ahead on our weekend meals. Book of Yum is hosting this week and Sea’s chosen ingredient is coconut. I’ve been really enjoying using coconut flour in my baked goods. It brings in a little sweetness on its own and is actually quite good for you. I also use it when making homemade granola. (Side note–where do you get your certified GF oats? I’ve been using Bob’s Red Mill’s but they are having stabilization issues (something about how they aren’t staying fresh long enough). They hope to have the problem resolved soon but in the meantime I still want my granola).

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Drum roll, please. Once again here is…

The Menu

MondayKarina’s Irish cabbage and potato soup with soda bread.

Tuesday–Crockpot chili and cornbread (and, yes, I do make a lot of soup. Why do you ask?)

Wednesdayroasted chicken, spinach, and rosemary biscuits

Thursday–breakfast for dinner for dad and kids, leftovers of some kind for me

Friday–stuffed baked potatoes

Saturday–(lunch or dinner) tacos with the leftover shredded chicken; a simple dahl and rice for the other.

Sunday– brunch with friends; hopefully a good roast lamb and potatoes and asparagus with other friends later.

And breakfast this week will end up involving Cocoa Pebbles, a guilty pleasure my husband had the nerve to pick up at the grocery. I know, I know, they are terrible for me. But man they’re good. I just can’t resist. I hope y’all don’t all think I’m a low brow eater now.

It’s been a long day full of children who refused to nap. And, oh, they so needed one and mommy as well, so I’ll get right to the recipe. These are my favorite biscuits, though, and the fact I’ve had some success makes me eager to post. This is my GF version of a recipe in Bread Alone by Daniel Leader and Judith Blahnik. This is a book of great European style (read takes 14 hours to make) yeast bread recipes which tragically my husband never fully succeeded at no matter how many weekends he devoted. He later learned the reason–all the temperatures are off. However, the biscuits are a quick bread so no worries. The secret to their addictive flavor is caramelized onions. Mmmm. And they were still tasty after a turn in the toaster oven days later. Sadly, I forgot to take pictures. I’ll have to add them later since I’ll certainly be making more of these.

This is my first attempt so if anyone has advice for tweaks feel free to pass them my way.

Rosemary Drop Biscuits

7 tbsp chilled butter 1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

2/3 c sorghum flour
2/3 c brown rice flour
2/3 c tapioca flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 to 2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg

1 cup cold buttermilk

Melt 2 tbsp of the butter in a skillet, then add the onion and cook over med-high heat for 3 minutes. Add the rosemary and continue cooking for around 3 minutes more. Remove from heat once the onion is quite soft and turning a golden brown. Drain well then cool completely.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl then cut in the butter. (I used Mary Frances’s technique of grating the butter in which she got from Kate at Gluten Free Gobsmacked). Work the mixture until it resembles course crumbs. Then add in the cooled onion mixture, working it in thoroughly. Pour in the buttermilk and egg and stir it just enough to form the dough. (My dough was thinner than I expected but I worked out fine.)

Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls or whatever size makes you happy onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake about 12 to 15 minutes and serve immediately. WARNING: high risk of eating them all in one sitting.

Alright all you brilliant gluten-free bakers out there. My little friend Judah is having his first birthday on Saturday. He’s going on an elimination diet to hopefully find out what is bothering his skin, which is going to be very good for him but complicated birthday cakey goodness. Can any of you come up with a cake recipe that doesn’t have gluten or dairy or eggs and probably not coconut or pineapples or anything we aren’t certain about?

thanks!!!