Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

ImageGoing gluten free means I’m spending a little more time than usual in the kitchen.  I came up with this recipe yesterday.  I didn’t take a picture of the first six cookies because they were gone in a flash.  And, well, the rest of the dough spent a little too much time in the over making them unready for their close up.  It was my first time using almond meal, and I loved the texture and flavor it brought to the cookies, without altering the flavor too much.  The cookies were soft and oh so chocolaty!  Even better, my family loved them!  I purposely made the batch small, in case they turned out yucky; but the recipe can be easily doubled.

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 package (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, almond meal, salt, and baking soda and set aside. Combine sugars, butter and vanilla and beat until creamy. Add egg and beat. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop mixture by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Makes approximately 1-1/2 dozen.

Jennifer

Coconut Oil: Deep Conditioner

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My obsession with Pinterest has led me to get back to using natural beauty treatments and home remedies.

After reading about all the oddly fascinating uses for it, Daddy-O picked up a jar of coconut oil for me at Trader Joe’s yesterday.  I expected it to be completely liquid.  I suppose it separates because my jar was filled with this glistening solid swirled with oil.

My main reason for getting the oil in the first place was to replace unhealthier oils I use in my recipes.  A friend of mine only uses coconut oil.  I don’t think I’ll use it exclusively as I love my EV olive oil.  I guess I’ll explore which oil works better with my individual recipes.  But that’s another post.

Because I have naturally curly hair, my hair is naturally very dry.  It’s a major pain.  I don’t wash it every day because it looks better the dirtier it gets.  I do try to condition is daily, however.  But I’m no Rockefeller, so I really can’t afford to do that.  Therefore, I hide my ‘fro under hats and kerchiefs or try to tame it with a headband.  Tonight, I looked liked Don King.  I mean, turn me over and you could scour a pan with my hair.  That seemed to be as good a time as any to try the coconut oil as a conditioner.

My hair is short, but remember it’s super dry, so I massaged about 1/4 cup or so into my hair and left it in for about 15 minutes.  What was left on my hands I rubbed into my cuticles.  It smells amazing.  It has a delicate nutty scent.

I used a combo shampoo/body wash which foams very little.  I was pleasantly surprised that adding the shampoo to the oil produced a very rich lather.  So much lather, in fact, I didn’t have to use any extra as body wash.  Cool beans.

Rinse, repeat. I didn’t really like the way my hair felt with just washing alone, so I followed up with a smidge my regular conditioner.

I added a small amount of my noodle head and let it dry naturally (as I usually do).  Wow!  My curly are springy and soft.  I think I found a winner.

Jennifer

Thoughts on An open letter to pastors {A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day}

An open letter to pastors {A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day}.

As a woman who struggled with infertility for years before having my son, I remember the pain all too well.  Going to church on Mother’s Day, surrounded by mothers and their quiver full of smiling children, aching to be one who was invited to stand and have the congregation acknowledge my tireless efforts.  I tried to make it about other people, recognizing my mother and all the other amazing women in my life.  My longing to have a child made each Mother’s Day unbearable.

I’m hardly alone in this.  Amy reminds us in her open letter to pastors that we can and should acknowledge mothers without alienating others.  That woman who sits while the “real mothers” stand has prayed for you, cried with you, served and praised with you.  Let us not forget to celebrate her.

“To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you

To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you

To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you

To those who experienced loss this year through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you

To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.

To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you

To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you

To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you

To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you

To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience

To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst

To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you

And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you

This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.”

Jennifer

Onion Asparagus Frittata

How did I not know how easy it is to throw together a frittata?  I was given some asparagus so thought quiche, but didn’t want to deal with a crust or the added calories.  I’ve only tasted a frittata once when a woman brought one to Bible study like 10 years ago.  Eggs are some very cheap protein so it seemed like the perfect solution.

I based my recipe on this one.  I didn’t have a whole pound of asparagus, but I’ll definitely use more next time.  I’ve always got Cheddar on hand, hence the substitution.  I was also given like 5 lbs of onions, so I increased the amount of onion and gave it top billing.

Here’s my revised recipe.

Onion Asparagus Frittata

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off, spears cut diagonally into 1-inch lengths
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium high heat.  Add onions and salt and cook about 3 minutes until onions are softened.  Add asparagus, reduce heat.  I cooked it uncovered, but the original recipe says to cover and cook for 6-8 minutes.  Add the eggs and cook about 2 minutes.  In the meantime, preheat the broiler.
Sprinkle cheese on top and broil 3-4 minutes until cheese is melted and browned.

Add a glass of orange juice and a dollop of Greek yogurt and I’ve got myself a tasty treat for tomorrow’s tea party.  Until then, don’t bother me.  I’m eating.

 

Jennifer

Routine

I’ve really overdone it the last couple of days.  My sink breaking caused the dishes the back up more than usual, so I’ve been playing catch up.  Between that and Mount Washmore, carting the boy to and fro, helping with homework, trying to keep up on my own homework, and just the general stuff of life, I simply crash.  Not at the end of the day, mind you, but at 5 p.m. when I get home.  My naps are rarely less than two hours long, so I’m out of pocket during a fairly crucial time.  (What time isn’t crucial when you have a young family?)  Dinner gets pushed back, making bedtime way off.  This isn’t good for someone striving to be consistent with routines.

Routines.  I hate them.  But I need them.  And I hate that I need them.  I’ve never been consistent with anything in my life.  I’m impulsive and easily distracted, yet I have little endurance.  Even with meds.  If it were just me, I probably wouldn’t try so hard to change this.  But  with my son being so young and having special needs, though not severe, routines make life more predictable for him and give him some sense of control.

I would love to be able to push a button automatically be the person I want to be without going through the torture of routine.  What would be on my list?  I’d be tidier and more organized.  I’d take the time to read instead of vegging out in front of the TV. I’d get together with my friends. Be better at marriage and motherhood.  I’d actually do what’s on my list instead of making another list.

I would remember where I am instead of where I was.  I would tell myself I’m doing fine.  I’m doing what I can.  I’m where God has placed me.  Where He wants me right now.  Seeking Him.  Like the promise of Matthew 6:33:  “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Letting Him direct my days instead of feeling mired down my my to-dos and unrealistic expectations.  If I’m to aim my consistency at something, that would be it.  All the rest will follow.

Jennifer

Unrealistic

I have always been too hard on myself.  Like many women of today, I bought into the you-can-have-it-all lie.  I believed I could have it all even if it wasn’t all at once.  Some days it’s all I can do to get out of bed.  Self care is hard for me at times.  It may be because of the illness, I don’t know.  I think I just need to lower my expectations.  I’ve decided instead of referring to self care as “the bare minimum”, I will call it “the least I can do for myself.”  It may not be much different, but it sounds better somehow.  More positive.  And that’s what I think I need.

Jennifer

Just Blue

It’s one of those days.  I can’t leave the house.  This happens periodically.  It’s not that I’m scared to leave or fearful of what’s “out there.”  I can’t really explain it.  It’s nearly paralyzing, and it makes me angry at myself.

I’ve been trying to give myself a break.  Lower my ridiculously high expectations.  But now I fear I’ve fallen back in to a depression.  I feel ridiculous.  I want to just snap myself out of it.  Maybe someone will slap me across the face and then I’ll be me again.  Any volunteers?

 

Jennifer