There two types of holiday people.
Type 1: The Gung-Ho: (The Wu-Tang Clan could have put out an album with that name). The gung-ho’ers start getting high on holiday cheer in October. Halloween kicks it off. They go crazy with weekend trips to the pumpkin patch; carve elaborate jack-o-lanterns, use a collection of gnarled gourds to line the porch, window sills, and mantles. They frame their doorways with dried wheat stalks. Build fake graves in their yard. String skeletons from the tree branches. Create haunted house entryways. No expense is spared. Type 1 folks spring for the dry ice.
When Halloween passes, it’s on to TG. (Image below courtesy of Martha Stewart, who might get some cred for giving the Type 1′ers their fix).
The first Thanksgiving meal I cooked was epic. I was 24, newly arrived to California. We (the man-dude and I) decided to celebrate the holiday by renting a cabin in Tahoe with some (new-ish) friends, almost all co-workers of the man-dude, all men-dudes themselves♥. We’d all be strays together; East Coasters discovering the wonder of the West, far from our families.
While I would NEVER, EVER call myself a laid back person, there are some things that do not stress me out. Holiday decorations are one example. Ditto that for ceramic plates shaped like turkeys, or serverware in orange or brown color schemes. I am not Type 1.
Type 2: The “Who Gives A Shit?” (The Wu-Tang could also use this one!) –defined by the exact opposite of Type 1, these folks kinda can’t wait for the holidays to be over.
Buuuuut…Even though I wasn’t the ambitious homecook I am today (ie: not YET obsessed with culinary acuteness, wet moist meat, etc etc) I still cared about cooking a bomb-ass meal that everyone would swoon over. The natural born hostess in me, homebody, nester, and Queen of Pentacles caregiver, wanted to make the experience memorable for everyone. Combine that with my buy-in of NorCal’s hippie promise of communal love and spiritually enlightening gratitude? Basically, I wanted everyone to get drunk on giving thanks.
Queue the clock. It’s almost midnight. The turkey has just come out of the oven. The sky is black outside. The house smells incredible, but I’m immune because I’ve been cooking for the past 8 hours. (Most of*) my comrades have all passed out from having drunk too many beers (read: an entire 36 pack of bud light) while sitting in a hot tub located inside a garage. They are not sleeping so much as they are spilled on their beds like strewn clothing shed in the heat of a passionate moment. I am slapping them awake, forcing them to the table. At one point, I dragged one of these human beings by his feet across the floor to get him to the table.
(NOTE: I’ve blurred this image to protect the identities of my comrades. Besides, the two Vikings who had passed out by now are not pictured.)
They arrive feigning sobriety, supporting their drooping heads with cupped hands and bent elbows, working hard to stay upright, slurring words, making inaudible and unintelligible jokes. I ignore this. I have bitten a hole into my cheek from chewing the inside of my lip during The Great Turkey Wait. It’s a bad habit. Something I do when anxiety gets the better of me. Which happened when I realized that one of my (well meaning) comrades turned the oven off during the cooking process, thinking he was turning it down. Hours passed before the gaffe was caught.
Queue 15 minutes into the meal. Still holding out hope for my vision, I ask everyone to join hands for a moment of thanks. I suggest we go around the table and each tell one thing we’re grateful for. Mid-sentence, a loud thud issues from the end of the table. One of my comrades has dropped his head, missing his mashed potato-piled plate by a mere inch. I burst into tears. My sober comrades issue, “There, there’s and here’s here’s” and we move on. Everyone was drunk all right. BUD LITE FOR THE WIN.
Queue the next morning. The boys are up and slamming the leftovers for breakfast. They are ooohing and aaaahing and oh-my-god-ing, until one of them asks, “Did we eat this last night?” Yes. Yes you did.
I wasn’t actually offended. I believe these kinds of life experiences make the best stories. And it was one of the the most memorable Thanksgivings’ I’ve ever had; especially since it was the first one I cooked up myself (with some crucial assists by sober comrades).
I’ve got many, many more TG stories to tell–and pics to share, but for now, let me give you this vid. It was made in part because of and thanks to a member of this original gaggle of guys whom I consider a very close and incredible comrade.
What Type are you for the holidays? What was your most memorable TG? Tell me! Tell me! I’d love to know. Happy happy to you and yours.
Thanks for reading. A la prossima! Ciao xo.
♥We nicknamed this gaggle of guys “The Vikings.”♥
*I say “most” because there were two gentlemen of the bunch who managed to remain sober and available throughout the ordeal.Read More
In difficult times you should always carry something beautiful in your mind. —Blaise Pascal (1623
Beauty sustains me the way foods sustains me. It’s something that I need, and in rich doses. I drink in beauty like some folks pour heavy cream in their coffee; I envy those folks. Especially when heavy cream seems like the reason their blog is bigger than mine. I find ways to make food luscious and creamy and comforting. Like this macchiato oatmeal.
Lucky for me, I see beauty everywhere. The arc of a basketball towards the net; the sides of a pot dribbled with milky rice water; an egg broken into the pan with twin yolks. I close my eyes and imagine the shorelines I’ve walked; the vistas I’ve seen. This sustains me.
I read once that comparison is the thief of joy (don’t remember where!), and perfectionism is the enemy of art (latter credit goes to Sylvia Plath if I’m not mistaken). I fall victim to both. These twin poles of mind-matter keep me from updating this blog, or believing it’ll succeed. This is what leads me to (falsely) believe that heavy cream has anything to do with blog readers. But KIR right? It kinda does? Just a lil? Cause DAY-UM it’s so gooood.
As you know from the last post, I’ve been plotting behind-the-scenes to re-shape the show/blog format and direction. Though I’m not writing here, I’m thinking actively about where this is all heading. What I’m doing vs. what I’m meant to be doing. Also the idea of simple being.
I’m obsessing over the details. The site needs a makeover. The vision needs focus. I don’t want to look tired and run down and low energy in my videos, even if that’s how I feel. Recipes? Top notch.
What’s really true is that I’m letting perfectionism get in the way.
Expect changes. Some I know. Some I don’t. Which is why I’ve held back from writing or posting. I’m not going to wait until it’s all hammered out; eccomi!
In honor of this projects’ guiding philosphy, (Keepin’ It Real) I’m sharing a video in a different format. You can tell that I’m tired in it. My eyes are sunken and I’m pushing to keep the energy positive and up. The recipe was too good to keep back, and why wait for perfection? Get it done!
I’m using the Tastemade App (available for free in the iTunes store) to create “Appisodes.” Stay tuned for more of these bite sized recipe bewts. (That’s a terrible way to spell the abbreviation of ‘beauties’). FREAK FLAG BE FLYIN’!
My time away was like a spring break party of beauty. And returning has been an adjustment. My body is like a car with 187,000 miles on it. When I ask it to take me places, it often breaks down and requires LOTSA maintenance. I’m ridiculously grateful that it takes me places at all. I remember being in bed, and bed alone. My body is the only way I can be here worshipping at Beauty’s altar.
To overindulge you with inspiration since I’ve been away, here are some things to check out if like me, you’re also fed by Beauty.
1. This interview between John O’Donohue and Krista Tippet on “The Inner Landscape of Beauty.”
3. Sorpano Noe Venable singing “Say A Prayer For Beauty” live in Berkeley. (Check out the studio version too. It’s awesome).
4. And anything written, photographed, or cooked up by the incredible Beth Kirby of Local Milk. I save Beth’s posts for quiet moments when I’m alone with a cup of tea. She feeds the poet in me. Sadly, since gluten is out of my playbook, I can only swoon over her photos and not cook her recipes. But I’m not a recipe follower anyway, and that makes me feel better. Because DAY-UM, her recipes looks goood.
Ch-ch-changes are comin’ — and so are holiday recipes that will bring you to the table again and again wanting more. In the meantime, hang tight. And let me know: how do you all handle the ecstasy and terror of change? What sustains you? What is beautiful in your life? Why do you need it?
Beautiful people! I’m takin’ a break from posting video recipes. I’m also requesting your help! I made a super short straightforward survey for you to fill out (click that link OR just fill it out below).
Help shape the future of the show and blog! All the information is in the video–please watch and take a few minutes to fill out the survey. All together it won’t take you more than 10 minutes.
I want to hear from all of you, but I ESPECIALLY want to hear from the folks living with chronic illness and/or invisible disabilities, so there’s a special section of the survey designed specifically for you.
Bonus: There’s a photo of the man-dude in there for all you curious cats out there
I wish I had a video making Time Machine so I could travel back and re-do this video with my most recently tested cracker recipe. I’d like to build a reputation in the food blogging world for recipes that make people feel like they’re eating the “real” thing (yet one more pun on the keepin’ it real title of this project). But this idea irks me on some level because it shortchanges gluten free living, implying that it somehow isn’t “real.” A quick look at the dictionary revelas one that I suspect has its roots in why folks say this about glu-free products.
Phrase: the real thing informal a thing that is absolutely genuine or authentic.
Alas, my genius for “just-like-the-original” recipes isn’t innate. I have to work and work and work and test and test and test and scratch a thousand and one index cards worth of notes before I get anywhere close (depending on the food item in question of course).
This recipe is the best version I can offer you with almond flour/almond meal. But I’ve since taken it further and you can expect a glorious follow-up, hopefully in time for the holidays when you’ll want to nosh on all of those dips and things alongside all the glu-eating freaks out there.
And when it comes to building reps, I hope that it’s not ONLY my recipes, but also my YouTube presence as a highly entertaining character that puts me on the culinary maps of the world.
Without further ado, le video.
I bet you’ve been kept up at night wondering where the udder on an almond is. After this video, you’re gonna be THE don of milking ALMS. (that’s an abbreviation for almonds, obvio).
Homemade almond milk is highly perishable, as all good food should be. (It’ll last about 3-4 days in the fridge and is best made in small batches). I use organic and raw almonds, soaked first overnight, but what you use is up to you. Read about the pasteurization process for almonds (and most other nuts too) if you’re curious about why some of us freaks spend an arm and a leg for the raw organic stuff. It takes miles of investigations to know which almonds are steam treated instead fumigated with propylene oxide. Personally, I’d rather support a local farmer I trust. Homemade almond milk’s a luxury.
This is the method for how to make plain basic almond milk (which is an easy, fun, and great activity to do with kids). If you want to add some kind of sweetener like dates or honey and berries—go for it! Or, take the savory route and add ginger and tumeric. A local almond-milkery called The Living Apocethary has given me endless inspiration for almond milk flavors. And of course there’s Youtube. One of the Italian channels I watch made almond milk with blanched garlic. Point is—this the blank canvas for your imagination.
Dehydrate the leftover almond meal and use it to make gluten free meatballs, almond flour cookies, as a crust for baked fish , as a garnish for soups and salads, and whatever else your imagination can conjure.
Make almond milk in batches according to your desired use and you’ll be golden.
Answer to obscure comedy reference at end of video is: “Asides” A favorite sketch from the 90′s comedy group called “The State.” See if google will let you find it! Hilarity!
KIR Folks: My health took a serious nose dive recently. There are a few good reasons why, but I won’t bore you with those details. I can tell you that I had the unbelievable opportunity to speak on KQED about my experience living with an invisible disability. Setting an alarm to make it to the city contributed to my dip, but wasn’t the only factor. It’s been a whirlwind.
Some changes are coming your way re: this project and I hope to have you along for the ride. Last week I mentioned that I’d be sending a survey out this week, but I still haven’t heard back from you with the answers to last week’s questions! If you have a moment, let me know in the comments of last week’s post what you’re answers are to last week’s questions. Another round of questions seems premature.
I’m excited for the new direction of the project. Stay tuned…
Now onto this week’s recipe! This swoon-heavenly delicious bite-sized “candy” is made from ingredients that are good for you all by themselves and is perfect for all seasons. In spring & summer, top with fresh berries. In fall, add cardamom and cinnamon to the honey for a Halloweeny feel. And winter? Peppermint extract oil to give you that Andes mint feeling. Awww yeah….
Without further ado. The Triple Luxe!
It’s still hot out there and while the mid-July homemade ice cream craze may not have subsided, I’m adding this creamy, as-sinful-tasting-as-ice-cream, but healthier alternative to the mix. In the video, I use full fat coconut milk, strawberries, and a lacing of lime. Done. But if you wanted to add an even silkier mouthfeel to these refreshing ice pops, follow the recipe instructions on the recipe page and add a little coconut butter to the the milk before you pour. The end result will have you purring so loudly the neighbors will hear.
I wanted to let you all know that I’ve been grateful to have you as my audience. Thanks for watching my videos and for reading. I’ve been thinking a lot about this project and where it’s headed. Next week I’ll be sending out a survey. Your participation and answers will be crucial in shaping the project moving forward. To whet your appetite, I’ll add a few questions below. Please use the comments section to start this conversation. I want to hear from you.
1. What’ the biggest challenge you face when it comes to cooking , either in general or specifically gluten free?
2. Has it been a health problem (no need to disclose what exactly) that lead you to healthy eating?
3. What types of recipes are of particular interest to you? (Dinners, lunches, meat dishes, etc).
I know awhile back I asked to hear more about YOU and who YOU are. I’m still curious, especially to hear from the newly subscribed folks. What brings you? What keeps you (to the folks who’ve stuck around)?
THANK YOU! and without further ado…le video.