Saturday, October 18, 2014

Oven Mitts

I have a very sweet and thoughtful husband.
And I'm going to shout it from the rooftops.

Today, I asked him to pick up four things at Kroger on his way home from running a few errands. Now I know that he'll usually get everything on my list, but I also know that my man doesn't stick to the list (not unlike his wife, who makes a list of the 10 things and buys $100 worth of groceries)....anyway, it's always interesting to see what he comes home with. Today's extra spoils included GF pretzels and cookies and OVEN MITTS! That dear man.
A few weeks ago, we had discussed needing new oven mitts because I'd burned my hand through one of our old ones. Not acceptable. Except that I speedily forgot the incident and kept using the same old bad one because I guess our others are in storage or something.

But good Emery hadn't forgotten his poor wifey. No, no. He came home with Blue Willow print oven mitts and a matching tea towel, and some day when we have a house they'll coordinate in a lovely way with our china. Sweet man.

It's a delightful thing to be married to such a man.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Random Box

It's a little hard for me to get used to it just being barely light at 7:30 in the morning. I'm missing early sunshine from central time, but on the other hand - my children sleep much later....and I would sleep much later, but my neck thinks it's excessive of me to want to sleep 12 hours, so up I must be.
{There's your run-on for the day.}
What I really ought to have said is that I'm thankful our basement apartment HAS windows, and I can be aware of the outside conditions somewhat - even if the sunlight doesn't come shining in brightly, I'm thankful for windows!

I have bad news. I made those molasses cookies yesterday, minus the ginger because I was out....and Emery didn't even like them. I should probably take that other post down. But I like them because they're so healthy, even if they happen to taste a little healthy.
Last week, somebody made the mistake of posting a picture of cookie cake on facebook, and this pregnant woman almost rushed out to Kroger to find one for herself, but I used a little self-control and made a GF version at home that my family could enjoy too. It was tasty, but alas, it tasted healthy. Of course, I didn't put any icing on, but I missed that certain chemical taste you get in the store-bought ones. Ironically, mine also tasted like whole-wheat, which of course it was not.
In other grocery store blunders, last week I was thinking about buying some bagels and thought, "oh, theses have a lot of carbs." So I didn't buy them and what do you think I put in the buggy next? Doughnuts. Are you kidding me? I was trying to think healthy thoughts and BAM! Krispie Kreme wins the fight. I'll also have you know that the aforementioned brand is the only one I'll patronize that incorrectly uses Ks where Cs ought to be. Because that is an aggravation in my life, especially when it's an educational facility and the name is something like "Kozy Kiddie Korner". Ugh.
(Sorry if you have a business named that. I just made it up.)

Now that those stories are out of the way. I'm glad to report that it's the middle of October. We're going Pumpkin Patching tomorrow. I had hot chocolate yesterday. And we made paper pumpkins that turned out uber cute. I'm glad to meet my fall-crafting quota and move on with life.
Enjoying September and October partially means getting prepared for Christmas. I even went shopping BY MYSELF last Saturday, and it's extremely gratifying to have a few happy Christmases wrapped and tucked away. A bonus feature of buying on the early side is that I have no memory, and Christmas will be just as surprising to me as to those opening the gifts. Score for the win.

Speaking of Wins, Shout out to Ole Miss for having a great season thus far. Hattie can't really understand why the Targets in GA don't sell Ole Miss gear like they ought.

Oh, I also wanted to give an update about my essential oil usage. It's been nearly a year since I bought a set from Plant Therapy off of Amazon, and I've been very happy with my purchase. Granted, I go through phases when I don't use them much, but lately they've been getting a lot of use in terms of peppermint to keep spiders and crickets at bay, and tea tree oil for bug bites, and "Germ Fighter" - which is the same formula as Thieves -for diffusing and hopefully cleansing the air around here of any lingering germs, and Eucalyptus for muscle aches and to keep the sinuses open.
I haven't used as many of the blended oils as I thought I might, but overall, I couldn't be happier.

And cue baby waking up.
Hugs. Happy Humpday.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A month Here. and Sycamore Bakes: Molasses Cookies

It's a monthiversary for us…one whole month of living in Georgia. The very first month of living in Georgia for Emery, Hattie, and Adele, and a whole month on top of the years spent growing up here for me. In high school, I was itchy to travel and maybe be a missionary. I was swept away with the romance of foreign places and mostly of not living in the suburbs. As I matured, I still kept the funny notion of looking down my nose at folks who stayed here, and I was glad I wasn't. But as most things come full-circle, here we are, and I AM GLAD. Besides I've got a mission field in my home, and a captive audience to preach to, and there IS romance in motherhood - if you get your perspective on the right way.
Besides those things, our little basement home here comes with the opportunity for this first-trimester tired mama to nap when Adele does (because Hattie goes to sew and keep our auntie company). And I only have two rooms and a bathroom to try to keep neat. And I'm getting pretty good at backing up the kind of steep driveway and not hitting the trees on either side…ahem, let's say rather that I haven't hit the trees yet. 

So, I'm glad to be here - even if I do sound PollyAnna-ish, I'm glad for that too, because how much better to count one's blessings and be glad for them to than to mope over your lot in life!

Want to know something else that makes me glad? Molasses cookies. I know, everyone is all about pumpkin spice everything these days, but when fall finally does turn that corner and the leaves are spiraling around you in the crisp air, that's when molasses cookies sound the most appealing. Maybe with some hot apple cider and a wood fire crackling, can't beat it!

Molasses Cookies
Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free….Guilt FREE!

2 3/4 cup GF flour blend*
1tsp baking soda
1tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp cloves
1/4tsp ginger
1/4tsp nutmeg
1/4tsp seal salt

1/2cup coconut oil
1/2cup mashed banana (one large)
3/4cup molasses
3tbsp coconut milk - or milk of your choice
2tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Place on greased baking sheet, and bake for 9 minutes.

--I really can't remember if these were "drop"style cookies or roll 'em into a ball and mash a little on the pan. Just go with the consistency of the batter for whichever is easiest. Also, make sure your banana is well mashed or pureed. You don't want banana chunks when you're eating the cookies.

*Gluten Free Flour Blend:
               2cups brown rice flour
               2/3 cup potato starch
               1/3 cup tapioca starch
               1tsp xanthan gum, unless otherwise noted in recipe.

This is the blend I always use. You're welcome to try your own favorite blend in place of this one, probably it would work just as well. I stick with this one because I don't have the time or mental energy to complicate my baking by using a blend that takes sooo many types of flours: almond flour, coconut flour, bean flours, amaranth, quinoa, etc etc etc. I've got to keep it simple!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sycamore Bakes: Emery's Favorite Apple Pie

There have been a few times in our marriage - maybe half a dozen or less - when I've made something and Emery has looked at me and said, "This is the best (fill in the blank) that I've ever eaten." And that statement makes me want to jump up and down and smile so hard my face might burst. It's not that he isn't easy to please, but to get such an accolade, it's tremendous.

My poor brain can't remember whether or not he said that about this pie, but I do know that at the top of the recipe, it says, "Emery's New Favorite Pie". That's a glad heading.

Apple Pie
Apple pie is such a cozy, comforting food. Rich with nostalgia. And delightful as can be.

Filling: 6 medium Granny Smith apples; peeled, cored, and sliced
            1/2 cup sugar (coconut sugar is my preference)
            2tbsp GF flour blend
            1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
            1/4 tsp nutmeg
            1tsp lemon zest      ->I used lime juice in place of the lemon zest and juice - worked fine
            1tbsp lemon juice
            1/4tsp salt

Crumble: 1 cup GF flour blend
                1/3 cup oats
                2/3 cup coconut sugar
                2tsp cinnamon
                1/4tsp nutmeg
                1/2cup solid coconut oil

Preheat oven to 400F.
Mix filling ingredients and set aside. (I think it's important to let those apples "juice" while you're getting everything else together, so don't be in too much of a hurry.)
Mix crumble ingredients. Make sure the coconut oil gets chopped up into fine pieces and is thoroughly incorporated.
Pour apples into deep-dish pie plate. Spread crumble topping over apples evenly.
Bake 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and set a piece of foil over the top of the pie to prevent burning. Bake 30 more minutes.

(I needed to bake ours closer to 45 more minutes. Depends on the heat of your oven, ours ran hot, usually.)