November 29, 2008

scd whipped cream

Since Thanksgiving is a special holiday, and I wasn't planning to make a huge spread, I decided that I wanted to try making something really special for myself. What I really wanted was whipped cream. And I was determined to have it.

Those of us who are gluten free know that many recipes, especially the really special ones usually require advance planning. Special recipes for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet require even more, and often advance preparation as well. Making SCD whipped cream is one of those recipes, but is absolutely worth the wait.

After my first attempt, which produced the goat's milk sweet cream, I conferred with S. I decided that the best way to go would be to actually make yogurt from heavy cream and she told me that it needed to culture for 48 hours, rather than a mere 24. So that's what I did. (When S tells me something, I know she's done her research) I owe this recipe entirely to S for her guidance, even if I did the 'work'.

Yesterday was a wonderful day. I had the Trainer all to myself for the whole day. He accompanied me around Queens on my errands. We rode our bikes through a cool, clear blue day from the library to the bike shop, to Trader Joe's and back again, and then with wide eyed wonder through the holiday market at Union Square. We went to three pet stores looking for the perfect clear plastic balls for the gerbils. At the end of the day, we came home to have David Lebivotz's rosy poached quince* with a dollop of whipped cream. Absolute heaven for the end of a heavenly day.

* I used three quince, 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 lemon and 3 1/2 cups water

SCD Whipped Cream
12 oz heavy cream
3 1/2 oz yogurt or yogurt starter for 1 quart yogurt (right now I'm using Fage fat free yogurt)
3 oz (about 1/4 cup) honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
Three days before you want to serve thee whipped cream, start culturing the yogurt. In a medium size sauce pan heat the cream, while stirring, almost to boiling. Allow cream to cool to 100-110° F. Mix a small amount of cream with yogurt started until smooth with no lumps. Add starter mixture to remaining cream and mix thoroughly. Pour cream into three yogurt cups and culture in yogurt maker for 48 hours. When done culturing, chill in refrigerator over night. Mix cultured cream, honey and vanilla in a medium bowl. Begin beating with electric mixer on low speed until honey and vanilla are mixed through. Continue beating at a higher speed until whipped cream forms. Store in a jar or container in fridge. This will last up to a week (if you don't eat it all first) but it will start to separate just a little after the first two days.

November 27, 2008

cranberry apple crisp

One could say, in fact several have, that my living circumstances are very New York. Sometimes life here, in this apartment in Queens, with the Trainer and his family can be difficult. Trying, busy, crowded. Often the morning bathroom schedule gets thrown of and one or all of us are late. Sometimes have such awful misunderstandings with his mother, who doesn't speak English.

And most of all, the kitchen is not my own. I don't have the set of dishes I want. Things don't get stored the way I'd like. I have limited space for the tools I have or want to get. (Not to mention those slices of bread I'm always terrified will get passed over my food or plate) For a girl who grew up as an only child in a house in the Midwest, this is quite an adjustment. It's still an adjustment after almost a year and a half.

Often times when things get intense I retreat to our room and I tell the Trainer that I he has no idea how much I love him. This is my way of telling him how much I deal with for him. Because I do dearly love him. And part of what I love about him is how much he cares for his family, how much responsibility he feels for them, especially his brother. If he didn't insist that we think of his family he wouldn't be my Trainer and I wouldn't love him so much.

I woke at 7am to start and had the turkey in the oven by 7:30. In keeping with my minor obsession with cranberries I wanted to make something special with them for the trainer and I. At home, the crisp is king, and I thought that individual cranberry apple crisps would be perfect. I had them all ready to go into the oven when the turkey came out, and they were just cooled enough when we were done eating.

For once, everyone was home to eat at the same time. After demolishing the bird the Trainer and I were ready for dessert. He turned to me and told me to go ahead and have mine, he would only have a bite of his so that his family could all taste that one. Of course I told him that we could share one and his family could share the other. They're not big on desserts, but this one was hit, served up with a dollop of SCD whipped cream (coming soon). I'm going to have to make two more tomorrow.

These moments when the whole family is together, and the Trainer's father is being charming, and I can give his mom a break in the kitchen. When we really are a happy family. These moments make everything else seem so trivial. These moments are the ones that count. The ones we simply must hold close to our hearts.

And now the turkey's been eaten, the bones are simmering for soup and the Trainer and I have been to the gym and back. On this day of giving thanks I am thankful for my family, my Trainer and my health, which I am steadily regaining through gluten free and SCD eating. Oh, and I'm thankful that the gym is open today too, even if it's only until 3pm.

Cranberry Apple Crisp
makes 4 8oz ramekin crisps
4 apples
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup apple or orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon

6 oz (2 cups) blanched almond meal
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Wash, peel and chop the apples into medium size pieces. Coursely chop the cranberries. Mix together in a small bowl with vanilla, juice and cinnamon, stirring to distribute evenly.

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a second bowl mix the almond meal, cinnamon, salt and vanilla. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the almond meal. Add the honey and mash mixture with the back of a spoon untill it forms a crumbly mixture. Spoon apples into four 8 oz ramekins. Sprinkle crumb mixture over top. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Serve warm, maybe with a dollop of SCD whipped cream.

November 25, 2008

cranberry sauce

Thanksgiving is drawing near and all my favorite bloggers are sharing all their tips for a happy, healthy celebration. Somehow I imagine that they have all the time in the world to perfect these recipes and formulate these tips. I had visions of posts like these as well. But, whatever it is my fellows do for a living, I doubt any of them work as the personal assistant to Chicken Little.

Last year I prepared my first complete Thanksgiving meal for the Trainer and his family, who never had a traditional turkey and fixings before. It was a big hit, but I was left with a bird full of gluten free stuffing to eat by myself, along with the gravy, cranberry sauce and green vegetables. This year I'm only doing the bird, and cranberry sauce for myself.

Cranberries may have been one of the foods that the native Americans shared with the settlers in New England, where they are native. Some of the best cranberry bogs are in New Jersey. It's no wonder they have become a traditional Thanksgiving food.

I love cranberries and cranberry sauce. We are not a fancy cranberry relish or cranberry chutney family. We like our fresh cranberry sauce, and non of that canned stuff. This is our family's good old stand-by. I've tweaked it to be sugar free, and I venture to say it is just as good, if not better than the version we used to make with white sugar.

Cranberry Sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1 bag cranberries

In a large sauce pan heat water and honey, stirring until honey is dissolved. Add cranberries and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and boil until all the cranberries pop. Stir and simmer for several more minutes. Pour into a heat proof serving dish or container. Let stand to cool, then place in refrigerator over night.

November 23, 2008

inside out lasagna meatballs

Last night the trainer and I got to see that fantastic Chilean band Inti Illimani and it was amazing. We've been waiting over a two years to go to an Andean concert together. He invited me to one when we first started dating but I couldn't make it. (Listen here)

At intermission I bought their CD to give my parents for Christmas and after the show we had the opportunity to meet the musicians. Neither the Trainer nor I had a pen, but we begged and borrowed and I got all their autographs for my folks. I was so giddy, I've never been to a concert like that I hardly knew what to say to them. Of course, most of them spoke only Spanish which made speaking to them even harder. Good thing I had the Trainer to get me through.

We got home late and lazed around in bad this morning. I dragged myself out of bed and into my sweats for my big cooking day. Burger day, to be exact. I tried a few new things and I got to work on something that's been swimming circles around behind my eyeballs for the last several weeks.

I've been craving lasagna, and when I made that first batch of mock ricotta I thought I knew how to do it. This one pretty much speaks for itself, and I think the squirrel in the tree outside are window wanted some too, he was crying the whole time these were in the oven.

Inside Out Lasagna Meatballs
2 lb ground beef
8 oz ricotta or SCD mock ricotta
1/4 c. (3/4oz) grated Parmesan regiano
1/4 c. (3/4oz) grated pecorino Romano
3/4 c. diced parsley
1/2 c. (1 1/5oz) grated Gruyere
quick tomato sauce*
Mix ricotta, Parmesan, Romano and parsley in one bowl.
Divide ground beef into 2 oz portions. Create thin patties, put tablespoon size portions of cheese mixture in the middle of patties and mold meat around cheese. Place a wire rack in a baking dish or cookie sheet, arrange meat balls on wire rack and bake for 20 min. Serve covered with quick tomato sauce and a sprinkle of Gruyere.

Makes 16 meatballs

November 21, 2008

dark date & pecan spice bread

There is a distinct chill in the air, it almost smells of snow. Here in the city we have left fall behind us and are careening towards winter. All the signs are out. The huge Norway spruce has been selected and brought to Rockefeller Center, still shrouded in scaffolding as they swag it with lights.

Cold weather means many things, but one in particular, this girl and her Trainer reach for a nice warm loaf of bread. It has become our evening ritual, a slice of bread and cup of tea and a little quite time before bed. I have been parading a variety of experimental loaves under his nose, all met with enthusiasm, but it all started when I was preparing for my trip to Alaska.

In the short time I was home I worked myself into a frenzy in Mom’s kitchen. What a joy it was to have all the space and tools I grew accustomed to in childhood. This is the kitchen of my childhood, full of love and fond memories, the room in our house where our small family of three most frequently congregated.

I danced around Mom at the stove and Dad in his seat reading the paper, brandishing my spatula and referring to two cookbooks and a recipe downloaded onto my iPhone. I experimented with various things I wanted to take with me to have as emergency food. I settled on one of Raman Prasad’s breads and one of Naomi’s

Evidently, all that recipe searching rubbed something off on me. In the fewer than 24 hours that I was in Michigan before my return to New York I was determined to make something new, my very own. I must give a nod to Naomi, Carol and Raman whose methods I have followed and incorporated into my own baking and recipe.

Now that I have recreated my original success, as has Mom, I am ready to share this recipe

Dark Date & Pecan Spice Bread

3 eggs, separated
3/4tsp cider vinegar
pinch salt

½ c. (15pc) prunes stewed in ½ c. water
4oz additive free apples sauce
2c. almond meal
1/4c. cashew butter
1tsp. baking soda
1/2c. dates, chopped
1/2c. pecans, chopped
1tsp. cinnamon
1/2tsp. cloves
1/4tsp. ginger
1/4tsp. anise extract

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a loaf pan with parchment paper

Puree the prunes and water in a blender.

Mix prune puree, apple sauce, egg yolks, almond meal, cashew butter and baking soda.

Add dates and pecans.

In a separate, large, dry bowl let egg whites warm to room temperature and add a pinch of salt.

Begin beating the egg whites with an electric mixer.

When egg whites have doubled in volume drizzle vinegar while continuing to beat.

When egg whites achieve soft peaks mix the prune puree mixture into the egg whites.

Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, when a knife or toothpick comes out clean.

November 18, 2008

cook the books: La Cucina

When Rachel first mentioned Cook the Books I had to run out and get La Cucina, A Novel of Rapture by Lily Prior. Actually, I went online and requested that it be transferred to my local library branch and then, about a week and a half later I picked it up. The idea of reading a book about food and then cooking was more than I could pass up. I love to read, love to cook and often find my cravings and food choices influenced by what I read. (My desire to cook indigenous foods came from reading about how the stampeders of the gold rush had to live off the land)

I toted La Cucina around with me for a few days while finished gluten-free girl. It is apropose, I believe, to say that I devoured this book, three days I think. Reading about the rich foods and culture of Sicily made me ache for the culture of my own Italian family, very little of which has survived to be passed down to me.

I keenly felt the story of Rosa's awakening to love through her cooking. It mirrors my own revitalization after going gluten free and finding the SCD and having the love and support of my like minded Trainer.

Every food discribed in loving detail made me pause, leaving little bookmarks to revisit sections. I really shouldn't read books like this at the gym. Pasticcio di Sostanza (I have a chicken heart and liver waiting in the fridge), 'strattu, caponata (which I've filled away for eggplant season) and the "little oranges", but the description of one treat in particular sounded like perfection.

Had I been too hasty in offering to give l'Inglese lessons? I asked myself, as I ground green almonds with my pestle. The power of my wrist uickly turned the almonds to powder. If only I could grind my worries away so easily.
I beat the ricotta, egg yolks, honey, sugar, lemon juice, and rind into the almonds...I whisked the egg whites into peaks in a matter of seconds... When the torta had baked to a golden, angels-scented crust, and after waiting impatiently for it to cool, I helped myself to a large slice with a thick dollop of cream. Ooh it was good.

And so I made a torta de ricotta. For my first batch I made five little tortas for two. The Trainer and the family loved them. This evening I made one large torta and the Trainer was on pins and needles until I told him it was cool enough to eat. Perfect with, or without lemon and topped with pomegranate molasses, raspberry preserves or cream. The Trainer's mother says I should open a bakery to sell these and some of my other recipes

Torta de Ricotta
8oz ricotta or "mock ricotta"★
5oz light honey
2 eggs seperated
Zest of 1 lemon
6 oz almond flour✲
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda✵
butter and flour for pan

Preheat oven to 325° F

Butter and flour an 8 inch round pan or five 8oz ramekins

Sift almond flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl

Beat ricotta and honey until smooth, continue beating and add yolks one at a time, add lemon zest

Mix the dry ingredients into the ricotta

Whisk the egg whites and carefully fold into the batter

Turn out into prepared pan, or pans, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until set and golden brown

Turn onto a wire rack to cool

★following the advice of S I made my own SCD "mock ricotta" by mixing 5oz farmer cheese with 3oz slightly strained yogurt. I have found that both 0% and 1% fat yogurt works for this

✲ for this recipe I used finely ground, blanched almond flour from Digestive Wellness

✵ if you are using real ricotta use baking powder. The combination of the baking soda and the yogurt in the "mock ricotta" acts as a substitute for the baking powder

November 16, 2008

besos de novia (golden blossom marshmallows)

Yesterday the Trainer had four clients and headed of early, fortified with a breakfast of apple pancakes (a first run). I packed myself up and went to visit S. She's got a great kitchen full of gadgets that I have no room for AND a washer and drier in her apartment. In New York this is the height of luxury.

Though we're still new friends, S and I clicked the moment we met and I adore her. We both are dealing with celiac disease and are following the SCD. She is such a wealth of knowledge and I soak it up like a sponge whenever we're together.

I wanted to make Kendall Conrad's cashew bread and the recipe is huge and makes three loaves of bread. I only have one loaf pan so I thought I could do it there. Can't complain about the company either.

I also wanted to try making SCD marshmallows and if anyone had any suggestions I knew S would. We were both a little blitzed, or we might have realized that trying to whip eggs to hard peaks on a rainy day isn't the easiest thing, but we persevered and ended up with some very tasty little treats to show for it.

I found the original recipe posted to SCDrecipe by Maria and we modified it using the tools and knowledge that S possesses.

When I gave one to the Trainer's mother she thought they were great. "Rico sta!" she dubbed them. In Ecuador marshmallows are called besos de novia, or bride's kisses. Sweet and romantic, don't you think?

This is my first ever attempt at making marshmallows, or even candy for that matter, and without S it never would have worked, but it's really not as scary as it sounds. I will continue to tweak this to create a more precise recipe, but I've decided to post it for those who are hankering for an SCD marshmallow. (If you really don't think you can face it, let me know and we'll see what can be done)

Golden Blossom Marshmallows
2 envelopes or 5 tsp unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup water
3 egg whites or 6tbsp egg whites (1 egg white if you're using a hand mixer)
Almond flour or toasted coconut for dusting

Soften the gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water. In a 3 quart sauce pan (we used non-stick) combine the honey and 1/3 cup water. Cook on low heat until the mixture reaches soft ball stage, 260. If you don't have a candy thermometer, soft ball stage is when they honey forms a distinct ball when dropped in a cup of water. The mixture will foam up, this is to be expected.

Remove pot from heat and skim of the bubbles and film on top. Stir in the gelatin until it dissolved. Let cool for 10 or 15 minutes.

Wipe the bowl of a stand mixer with cider vinegar and whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. Skim off the stiffest whites, about half the volume, and discard the wetter eggs.

Continue beating at high speed and pour in the syrup in a steady stream. Beat until the candy stands in soft peaks.

Prepare a 9x13 pan with parchment well dusted with almond meal or toasted coconut. Carefully pour into the pan. With a slightly wet spatula or spoon back smooth the marshmallow evenly around the pan.

Let stand overnight.

When the marshmallows are set, cut them into pieces. Dust all edges in almond flour or coconut.

Sent from my iPhone

November 15, 2008

blueberries and cream

One of my coworkers most vividly resembles a brick wall, both in appearance and attitude. Just conversing with her is difficult. Trying to achieve some sort of understanding can be painfully frustrating. I drink an awful lot of tea at work because of this woman.

After one especially exhausting encounter I found myself craving whipped cream. Now, I try very hard not use food as a source of comfort, hence the tea, but this one just wouldn't go away.

Most folks can stop at the corner and pick up a can of Reddi-wip but when you're sugar and lactose free as well, things are not so simple. I did a little research and lots of thinking, and then got foiled at the grocery store.

I took home a quart of goats milk, which wanted to try culturing in any case, rather than the heavy cream I was hoping to find. I had to culture the goats milk for yogurt before I could try anything. By the time that was done I still had the craving so forged on with my experiment.

The result was not whipped cream, just slightly tangy sweat cream, which was still very good and satisfied the sweet-creamy craving just fine. When I put it over frozen blueberries one night it froze, like rootbeer in a float, and it was an absolutely delicious sweet ending.

I'm sure this would work with any creamy, full fat plain yogurt if you are inclined to try it.

Sweet Cream Goats Milk Yogurt
1 tsp cold water
1/2 tsp gelatin
2 cups whole goats milk yogurt
2oz honey
Put the water in a small cup and sprinkle the gelatin over it.

In a saucepan heat yogurt and honey over medium heat, stirring until honey dissolves. Stir in gelatin, pour into a heatproof container and chill.

November 11, 2008


Before there was the Trainer there was Bob the Builder. Not a builder, as such, but with enough time, a few tokes and a lot of grunting he could fix just about anything. A comfortable guy, many years my senior, he was just not The One.

Bob the Builder was a great guy and I learned a lot from my time with him. He's a vegetarian and he introduced me to various veggie-friendly cuisines: Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Indian.

Beside rice noodles and stir-fry tofu, one of his favorites was saag, an Indian spinach dish. Pureed and stewed beyond recognition this dish has a great flavor, every restaurant seems to have their own recipe. Saag can be a great side by itself, or add farmers cheese for saag paneer, or add chicken, tofu, or legumes to make a main course.

I remember Bob the Builder fondly, even if I did break up with him, and I had a craving for this warm, comforting dish that I first made for him.

2lb spinach and other greens, such as collard greens, mustard green, etc
2 small yellow onions
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 inch fresh ginger
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp tumeric
1tbsp garam masala
Wash and chop spinach. Fill a medium sauce pan about 1/4 full with water, add vegetables and simmer for 45 minutes

In a blender puree the spinach in batches and return to pot

Chop the onions finely and mince the garlic and ginger as fine as possible. Saute the onions until they are translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, cook until soft. Add sallt, turmeric and garam masala and stir until everything is well mixed.

Add onion mixture to spinach and simmer until it is the desired consistancy. At this point it will more closely resemble a science project and will glorp and burbly like a volcano. I assure you, it tastes great too.

November 9, 2008

go head's gluten free! october indigenous foods round-up

Welcome! Please step into my kitchen, well, my virtual kitchen at any rate, and join me for a fantastic feast of indigenous foods from across the country and around the world.

I am thrilled to have hosted October's edition on "Go Ahead Honey...It's Gluten Free!", the theme for which I selected indigenous foods. I hoped to stretch all your imaginations and test your knowledge, and I was properly impressed. Although Canadian Thanksgiving is past, and American Thanksgiving is later this month (and I'm not sure if you folks across the pond have a Thanksgiving), I would like to take a moment now to give thanks for this wonderful gluten free blogging community we are all a part of.

Let us begin with a toast to health and friendship with Naomi's sloe, apple and rose syllabub. A beautifully pink take on an old English favorite made from sloe gin, fresh apple juice, rose water and yogurt. All from the English country side.

Whilst we all chatter and get our bearings, we can snack on Rachel's roasted sunchokes, which, if I'm not mistaken were grown in her very own upstate New York garden. A simple dish that, I understand, is best shared amongst good friends.

Once we've all taken our seats around the table we can start with the soup. Kelly brought us on of the New Worlds favorites whipped up into a warming potato soup. To add a little color to the table Heather has presented us with a vibrant butternut squash soup. Don't be shy, have a bowl of each.

For the main course we have a dish that has traveled far. A quinessential Australian dish, made from the animal that Australia is famous for. Jacqui got creative and made some semi free-form kangaroo meat pies. Lauren mixed foods that are indigenous to the place she lives as well as the state she grew up in. All of the ingredients for her hazelnut apple wild rice salad were locally grown as well. The other New Yorker in the group, myself, made grilled venison and a new England fall fruit egg bake from the fruits that grow on the east coast of the United States.

I hope you all wore your stretchy pants, and if you didn't you ought to know better than to wear those skinny jeans to such a gathering of good foodie friends. The dessert is yet to come. Acorns are abundant in California and were a staples food source for the natives there. Sea whipped up a batch of acorn muffins in tribute to those who roamed California before her.

And for our dessert tour de force, Heather created a mesquite corn cake. Corn was a staple native to Colorado and much of America and mesquite was used by the natives for food, fuel, shelter and more before Europeans introduced wheat and refinded sugars.

Now that we've all eaten our fill, I'll pack you each off with a selection of delicious leftovers to share with your families. Thank you all so much for participating, I am so pleased that you did. I am given to understand the November's "Go Ahead Honey...It's Gluten Free!" is being hosted here, so be sure to check it out for November's theme.

Thank you all again, and especially Naomi, our fearless founder.

November 8, 2008

fennel leek soup for a fall day

Today was a perfect fall day. Not a Perfect Day, per say, but a perfect FALL day. My all-knowing iPhone told me that it was mid-fifties with a chance of rain. I threw on my long sweater, left the Trainer in bed and left to meet a friend in Manhattan.

As I stepped out the front door onto the front stoop I was greated by a grey sky and blowing mizzle. As my father and Mel Gibson would say "good Scottish Weather".

The trees across the street were spectacular, some like the Ginko, already changed and dropping their fruit, smelling of butyric acid and dinosaur times. Others still green with tops afire.

I gleefully crunched through the piles of crisp brown oak leaves piled high around the playground. The frisky wind that blew wet spatterings in my face chased the fallen leaves round and round in an endless game of tag.

When I reached the train station my ears were slightly cold, my nose was slightly red, and my eyes were bright with pleasure. This is a perfect day indeed. Perfect for staying close with friends. Perfect for a mug of mulled cider after a brisk walk. Perfect for a heart pot of filling soup.

Fennel Leek Soup
1 buld fennel
3 medium leeks
3 cloves garlic
3 cups broth or stock of your choice
1 tsp dried whole thyme
olive oil
fresh ground pepper

Wash the fennel and leeks. Discard the bottom of the fennel bulb and cut off any bruised or brown parts. Cut off the base of the leeks and seperate the "leaves" to clean out all the dirt. Discard any bruised or dried out sections.

Coursely chop the fennel, leeks and garlic. You can save some of the fennel fronds for a garnish if that's your thing, or chop up all the fennel.

In a medium sauce pan with a little olive oil saute the chopped vegetables until the leeks are bright green.

Add stock and simmer until vegetables are tender.

Puree in a blender in batches until the soup reaches your desired consistency.

Return soup to the pot, add thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer to allow flavors to meld.

This soup base is perfect for any type of addition. You can add yogurt to make it creamier of for protien: chicken, turkey, suasage or tofu. And it's great hot or cold.

November 6, 2008

spiced plum preserves

Thursday is fruit day. Well, really it's pay day. Every Thursday after work I deposit my check and get some cash and head to 46th street to get a money order. On my way back to 5th avenue I always visit my friend with the fruit cart.

His fruit is generally better than the other local fruit guys, and he always gives me a good deal. Whatever he has that looks like a good deal, that's what I get and prepare on the weekend.

And so, with fresh-minted money burning a hole in my pocket, I found myself with toting home a half dozen plums to make into preserves to have with my yogurt.

Spiced Plum Preserves
2 Lbs plums
2tsp cinnamon
2tsp orange zest
1/2tsp cardamom
1/8tsp cloves
1tsp vanilla extract
Wash and dice plums. Place plums in a small saucepan with enough water to cover the bottom. Cook on low heat, stirring frequently, until plums are warmed through. Add spices and continue to simmer until plums break down to desired consistency. Taste mixture and add honey if it is needed. Cool and place in a glass jar or airtight plastic container. Store in the refrigerator.

November 4, 2008

i voted

This morning I woke up, waited for my turn for the shower, blessedly warm this morning, dressed, ate breakfast with a groggy looking Trainer and left the house. I walked up 89th Street to the corner of 32nd. But instead of passing by good 'ole PS 148 I took a detour. Up the steps, through the huge doors and into the elementary school. Irresistibly I was drawn by the "VOTE HERE" signs.

I haven't been in an elementary school in 15 years, but very little has changed, it even smells the way I remember. I waited on line, proffered my ID and stepped behind the curtain into the ancient machine. One tug of the lever got me ready, with a second tug and satisfying crack my vote was cast. I left with a feeling of self satisfaction at having done my part for the great political machine.

Nothing changed, the earth didn't stand still, work is the same as always. It's very likely that very little will change no matter who is elected. But I made my choice, let my voice be heard.


Did you?

November 3, 2008

bison chili in a squash bowl

Oh, man! Let's chalk that one up to the folly of youth.

Yesterday the Trainer and I lounged around for most of the day. Between the cup of coffee I really shouldn't have had around 4:30 Saturday and daylight savings time i didn't get much sleep and was pretty zapped by the time we decided to go to the gym. When I shuffled out in the late afternoon to fetch some cinnamon the weather was a perfectly nice fall day.

It didn't occur to me, as I was hauling the bikes out of the basement, that the sun was going to set earlier and that the temperature would drop along with it. I was concentrating to hard on the machines, and then the warm fuzzy feeling I got when the Trainer called me his "strong woman". However, this strong woman forgot her gloves

The ride to the gym wasn't to bad, although my fingers were cold and stiff when we arrived. I prised them from the handle bars and fumblingly help the Trainer with the lock. The ride home, after the sun set, was seriously cold. Riding through Queens in the cold and dark felt like we were doing something forbidden. Besides the frigid fingers it was a great ride. I love feeling my body working, pushing toward my goal.

But, back to those frigid finger. As mush as tried to pull my sleeves down over on fingers, but it's awfully hard to shift and break with your fingers pulled up inside your fleece. I was afraid that I would lose the use of my fingers for the rest of the evening, having suffered from raynauds phenomenon before going gluten free. I was pleasantly surprised that my fingers did not turn white and I did not lose feeling in them for hours. Very exciting! Of course, this does not mean that I'll be running around without gloves all winter.

The best part of the whole ordeal was the bison chili baked in a squash that was keeping warm for me in the oven. A little grated cheese and I had the perfect dark cold night dinner.

Bison Chili in a Squash Bowl
3 smallish acorn squash or pumpkins,
1 Lb ground bison
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, mined
1 carrot, diced
1 large celery stalk, diced
2 vine ripe tomatoes, diced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
fresh ground pepper
sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350°F

In a skillet add the onion, garlic and spices. Saute for about 5 minutes, until onions are tender. Add the carrots, celery and tomatoes, reduce heat and simmer while you prepare the squash.

Wash the outsides and cut the tops off the squash. Try to cut on an angle so that the tops will fit back on, like a jack-o-lantern. Scoop out seeds and pulp, try to get as much pulp out as possible.

Fill each squash as full as possible with chili. Press the chili firmly into the squash and fill them completely.

Place tops back on squash and place on a sided baking sheet on pan. Pour enough water into the pan to cover the bottom.

Bake for 45 minutes

Allow to cool for several minutes and garnish with grated sharp cheddar cheese.

*Eat the squash along with the chili, the contrasts in tastes is amazing! If you aren't going to bake the chili in the squash I recommend peeling, dicing and cooking the squash along with the rest of the chili.

November 2, 2008

squash pikelets

Several weeks ago Jacqui posted her banana pikelets, a little something she mixed up for her brood. A few days later, the Trainer requested something new and special for a breakfast we were going to have together. I mixed up her recipe with hazelnut flour and an egg in stead of orange juice. They immediately became part of our routine.

Friday evening the Trainer requested banana pikelets to take with him to the gym Saturday morning. When I reached for the banana basket, it was empty and I had some quick thinking to do. The Trainer okayed the experimental use of leftover kabucha squash for his pikelets. (By the way, I love this new term for fat little pancakes, I expect that I'll be using it quite a bit in the future) So I threw together thse little squash pikelets for the Trainer and he immediately deemed them good enough to post.

Squash Pikelets
3/4-1 cup cooked squash
1/2 cup nut flour
1 egg
splash vanilla
mash all the ingredients together with a fork

spoon onto a heated griddle and cook until both sides are golden brown