my husband made the rustic banana bread muffins with roasted local pears from the farmers market. they're very yummy! the skins are thicker than store bought pears and they look a little bit rough, but they taste great.
i finally made a circular knitting needle holder out of some amy butler fabric. while i was knitting the blanket above my needles were all twisted from being stored in the pocket of a fabric needle case. i even used the pot of boiling water trick but they wanted to stay in a tight coil. hopefully this will fix that.
i finally used my awesome clay buttons that josh gave me over a year ago. they have different leaves and herbs pressed into them.
We just bought tickets to see Andrew Bird in December. He is playing a series of Gezelligheid shows (mostly instrumental concerts), one of which is in Chicago at the Fourth Presbyterian Church. Gezelligheid is dutch for cozy. He uses the natural lighting and sounds of the venue. I am pretty freaking excited to tell you the truth.
i am not in the family of thought that keeps food secrets secret. after i was diagnosed with food allergies my feelings about food changed. it became something that frustrated me and a nuisance. i couldn't eat from the cafeteria at my work. going out to dinner with my friends and family was painful. when you can't order anything on the menu and you have to describe to the waiter your life story...it really can take the fun out of it. the transition to cooking all of your meals at home can be stressful if you don't know what to make or how to make it. i hope to help make that transition much easier for other people who find themselves in similar situations.
today i share with you a pasta recipe that is a twist on heidi swanson's recipe for otsu. it's a GF-vegan recipe. it's easy to make and super yummy!
vegan & gluten-free asian inspired noodles
1 lemon (zest and juice)
1/2 thumbs worth of fresh ginger or 2 cloves garlic (both will create very distinct flavors depending on your preference)
1-2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cayenne powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper powder
1/4 c. brown rice vinegar
1/3 c. GF soy sauce
2 Tbsp. oil (olive oil, nut oils, avocado oil, etc. i would not recommend canola or vegetable)
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
GF rice noodles
12 oz. firm tofu
bunch cilantro (coarsely chopped)
4-5 green onions (sliced)
cucumber (peeled, halved, seeded and thinly sliced)
if you chose ginger, peel the ginger, slice it and chop it into small pieces. this will prevent large chunks residing in your dressing. if you chose garlic, smash and peel prior to adding it to the food processor.
in food processor or blender combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, ginger or garlic, honey, cayenne, white pepper and salt. process until smooth. add the vinegar and soy sauce until combined. while the machine is running slowly add the oils. i leave this sit in the processor while i make the pasta and tofu. i will pulse it again before pouring it over the finished product.
cook the noodles according to the directions on the package. all of them are different. when i can find them i like to use fresh rice noodles from the refrigerated section at my local asian grocery. it is very easy to overcook rice noodles. when using dried noodles i place the noodle in a large pan of hot tap water. place the pan over medium-high heat. watch the noodles as the water heats up and don't let it boil. test the noodles every 30-60 seconds as they come close to being ready. when they are cooked to your liking strain off the liquid. you can rinse them with cold water if you want to stop the cooking process. eden makes 100% buckwheat noodles that are gluten free. i haven't tried them yet but will post on them when i do.
for the tofu you can buy firm tofu and slice it about 1/8-1/4" thick. lay it out on a dish towel (or paper towel) on a cookie sheet and place another dish towel over the top. lightly press the tofu to remove excess moisture. in a dry non-stick pan over med-high heat lightly fry both sides of the tofu strips until browned. i like to use the pre-fried tofu cubes from the refrigerated section of the local asian grocery. i cut them in half and bake them at 350 for 10-15 minutes (as seen above.) if they become hard when you cook them they will soften when you add the dressing. for a non-vegan option you can panfry some chicken, beef, fish or shrimp. shred or chop the chicken, beef or fish. i still prefer the tofu but meat options are a good way to mix it up.
return your noodles to the pan you used to cook your pasta and add the tofu, onions, cilantro, cucumber and the dressing. toss gently until well coated. you can save some of the onions and cilantro for garnish for plating.
this dish makes great leftovers. the dressing is even better the next day. if you are the kind of person who plans ahead you can make the dressing the day before and store in the refrigerator over night.
ever since i laid eyes on this beautiful red dress i wanted to get married in it, or at least celebrate my marriage in it. we are going to elope and get married outside somewhere. woods. water. dirt. not conducive to this garment. this is meant to be seen by the masses. now i just have to figure out how to make it. i have a pretty good idea of how to construct it. i have no idea what kind of fabric to use or where i am going to get it. so the search begins...
sometimes we have something wonderful right under out noses and we cant help but take it for granted in the busy world that we live in. my sister are two of my greatest friends. my little sister left town to return to milwaukee about 4 years ago. i miss her everyday. we were roommates for a short time and i think the fighting managed to bring us closer. my older sister and i have lived in the same town for 5 years. for one year we were roommates which again brought us closer, but now she is waiting. waiting for a destination, where she will live in five months. no matter where it is it will be far away from here. i wish her the best with all my heart. i will miss her so much that i can't imagine what it will be like not having her here. and not knowing how far away she will be makes me excited and a little sad. i never knew how important it would be to have her so close to me but i always knew how much she did for me. how much time she donated to better my life. i don't know how much i ever gave back. i don't know if i will ever have the chance to balance it out. she is the best older sister i could ask for. i want to thank her a millions time over. for the cupcakes, the bubbly and the sake. for coming to dinner. i will miss these dinners. how simple they are and how easily they come. i am a better person because of her.
i found this fantastic vinyl bag at artifacts, the local cabinet of wonderment. i can't go in there without finding something wonderful. todd, the owner, is a mad collector of pottery and can spot diamonds among the piles of old things people bring into his store. he has taught me so much about pottery and i have a wonderful collection of my own. i especially love to find local art which is common in his shop. just stopping in to say hello i was met with this brilliant orange bag. i have been looking for the perfect bag for everyday/work/research use and this one is perfect (and waaaayyyyy cheaper than the others that I have been coveting online.) it is in such good shape too, inside and out. i even found a tiny treasure to give my dearest friend tina for her birthday/moving present. i am lucky to have a second hand shop that is so close to me and that todd is such a friendly person.
With my new diet I have been searching for ways to replace old favorites. I have a recipe that was my grandmothers for Banana bread that my mother gave to me. I have been baking it for years and even shared it with my dear friend Weng-Yew when we were roommates in Tasmania. There were some funny moments while baking that bread one that included me forgetting the flour and WY eating the mush anyway saying it was good. What a good friend. So now, 4 months after starting my new diet, Josh the bread baker, has perfected the GF, egg-free, dairy-free banana bread/scone/muffin recipe. He found a recipe on Gluten Free Goddess for pumpkin scones made from scratch. He took this recipe and made scones with butternut squash, acorn squash, apple butter and bananas. At the New Pioneer Coop we found Bob's Red Mill Biscuit and Baking Mix. He replaced her homemade flour blend with this mix (which is bean flour free). A few adjustments here, the touch of a bakers hand, some extra special ingredients there and here we have a recipe for Rustic Banana Bread Muffins! Enjoy!
Pre-heat oven to 400*F.
2 c Bob's Red Mill Biscuit and Baking Mix 5 Tbsp brown sugar 1 1/2 tsp double action baking powder pinch salt 1/2 tsp ginger powder* 1/2 tsp cinnamon* 1/2 tsp all-spice* 1/2 tsp clove powder*
*these spices are optional and can be adjusted to your liking.
Whisk above ingredients together.
Add 7-10 Tbsp of cold butter, margarine, soy butter or lard (lard is the best for these muffins but does not need to be used, you will need to add 1/2 tsp of salt in total if you aren't using lard.) Mix the cold butter/lard into the dry mixture with your hands. It will be crumbly. You are done mixing when you can pinch it between your fingers and it sticks together. You want the dry mixture to be incorporated into the butter/lard. You can use a mixer for this but I find it easier to use your hands. Plus less dishes.
2 eggs or equivalent in reconstituted egg substitute (I use egg replacer by Ener-G) 3 over-ripe bananas 2 heaping Tbsp apple butter, apple sauce, etc.** 3 -4 Tbsp Honey, depending on how sweet you like them to be. 1 tsp vanilla 1 Tbsp hazelnut milk, soy milk, or coconut milk, any milk or milk substitute will do.
**(we've used a homemade habanero apple butter, pear ginger butter and a peach ginger jam in the past. I know these are not your common household item but the spice was really nice. Apple sauce from a jar works great and you can always add a pinch of cayenne or some fresh ginger. You can add anything you want to make them your own.)
Use a spatula to fold in the above ingredients until everything is incorporated. It will be a sticky dough when done. Spoon into muffin cups or cut into scones.
You can brush the tops with the hazelnut milk and add some brown sugar and cinnamon.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Muffins took upward of 25 and scones only 20.
today i found myself trying to explain the brilliance that represents one amazing woman. it's as hard as pronouncing her name correctly. so here is my attempt to share something beautiful with you and a few of my favorites...
this is amazing
christien meindertsma is a dutch multi-media artist and designer. she has exhibitions all over the world and has won many awards in graphic design including best living product and sustainable product from sonoma woon. her work includes a book mapping the journey of a pig after its death. it's very interesting to see how many strange and unexpected applications the by-products of a slaughtered pig can be traced to. i love that she is interested in sustainability and the environment. this video explains the book and what it entails. it's a bit long, over ten minutes but well worth it if you are interested in where our products come from and what they are made of.
i want one of these floor poofs for my home...maybe some day...
this is a sustainable sheep ranch in idaho where the yarn for the one sheep sweaters and the giant rugs comes from. lava lake ranch is concerned with land conservation and habitat restoration. sounds fantastic.
designs for a living world is a project by the nature conservancy. christien meindertsma's created a patch-work rug where each section is made of an individual sheep's wool. thus creating a "flock" rug.
Last October I was tested for food allergies. This was a significant step in a ten year repetitive process of doctors saying "huh?" to my medical enigma. I gave up gluten, dairy, eggs and beans. This has been a tough few months but the more time that passes the better it gets. I sympathize with people who have food allergies. I now seek recipes that are GF and vegan. I am a meat eater but meat can be easily added later. Other things are more difficult to remove or replace. Dairy and gluten are in EVERYTHING! The growing number of people, including my sister, who have celiac disease can hardly eat anything without the risk of being exposed to gluten. So we must help each other and share our creativity so we can enjoy and expand on each others successes and failures.
The hardest, and I mean HARDEST, part of this new diet was giving up pizza. I LOVE pizza. I dream about pizza when I am awake and asleep. When I was little I wanted to have my own pizza place so I could eat and share the joy of eating only pizza. GF pizza crusts are a risky business. Some of them are terrible, cardboardy and impossible to cut even with a steak knife. Some are yummy but have a long prep time. They are all dense...or so I thought. I recently have been trying new types of crust.
First I tried Bob's Red Mill GF pizza dough mix. The result was a hard, dense disc. It was tough and impossible to cut. The flavor was lacking and got an "all-around-unappealing" rating.
Next was Stashu GF frozen pizza crust which are made by Mama Bossa. Stashu is a pizza joint in IL. ((Mama Bossa's makes frozen pizzas that are not GF and have dairy. "They are *expletive* awesome!"...or so I hear...)) Back to the Stashu's GF frozen pizza crusts, they come in a four pack and are fairly small (about 8-9".) They are the best that I have tried of the pre-made kind. They are still dense but thin, the outside gets cracker hard and they are easy to cut.
Due to my "AVOID" warning to all cow dairy I allow myself to have sheep and goat's milk cheese. I love cheese and had a short run in the cheese business a couple years ago. So this was A-OK with me. I do miss some things such as Delice de Bourgogne (seriously try this if you haven't, sooooo good.) A pepperoni pizza covered in Ossau-Irraty (a sheeps milk cheese from the Basque country) was amazing. The Stashu crusts served their purpose and did it well.
My sister recently reviewed two other pre-made pizza crusts.
Both of these sound and look delicous and I will be trying them over the next couple months (if I can wait that long.) Her and her husband make their own GF pizza dough from scratch. I have eaten it with them a couple times and it is GOOD! I haven't attempted to make it myself yet but I intend to.
While on the GF subject, I recently read this post about the wonderful GF brownie mix made by Betty Crocker. I love them! They are just fantastic warm with some ice cream over the top. I haven't had a great dairy free ice cream yet but when I do I will let you know. My sister likes the cake mix and has some variations that are based on the yellow cake. I will be trying those too. Links below:
i tried to write you roses, red & simple a soft bouquet of years of petals in bloom and everything came apart in my hands a mess of a dress tailored in dirt and thorns all roots, and stem, solid footing in the wind but alas i have no flowers for your hands just ink & onion skin, and the color of the stove top on fire simmering to east your hunger, rose hips in my eyes with no book to break ground, a less lonely road with you i have no roses, your birthday, a garden in itself in bloom, irish skies, a midsummer night's green bud promises when we wilt together, there will be roses and all the scars of gardening down the softest parts of my arms because i love you, like the bee loves his queen
isn't it beautiful...it makes me smile because i am alive and have love in my life....
Chris Gregory is a graphic designer and illustrator who does a number of things, one of which is illustrate for daytrotter (music blog out of Rock Island, IL.) On a quest for more information and illustrations by this silly man, I found some really neat stuff. His art ranges from websites, music posters, clay, wedding invites and album art. My favorite would be his art directed at children. (I have a soft spot for kids.)
His blog is worth giving a read. I have found a random assortment of brilliance. My hyperlink is not working so please go to this site cgregori.com/blog if you are interested.
Here is a taste of what appealed to my inner rat....
Three women who bring inspiration to my life in so many ways.
A 19 year old folk singer/song writer from England with a killer voice and strong, emotional songs. The more I listen the more I love. Her first album just arrived on my doorstep this very day! Her second album is due for release in March.............
An irish singer with one of the most beautiful voices you will hear. She started with Damien Rice and the two of them were magic. Her first solo album after the much gossiped about separation from the aforementioned lead man is Sea Sew. This album has provided some pleasant theme music to my life lately and will continue.....
Dick Mack's is across the street from the church
The church is across the street from Dick Mack's
With a voice that could raise the dead and shake the earth to its core, Shara Worden takes the cake. I first heard her as a back up singer for sufjan stevens (insert smile) and the queen on the Hazards Of Love album by The Decemberists. Her band is My Brightest Diamond with two albums out. Give both of these a genuine chance, they are beautiful and can stir a wide variety of emotions. Beyond the vocals her style is unique and amazing too!