Wednesday, May 15, 2013
“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” ~Aldous Huxley
Recently I wanted to treat my daughter to her all-time favorite cookie, Russian Tea Cakes. I have embraced the positive side of gluten free for all it has given me, and want her to grow up with a good attitude about the abundance that is still possible.
Ah, but maybe not quite as positive as I had thought.
Knowing (or believing) they are not the easiest cookie. And, with the substitutions needed to keep them gluten and dairy free, I went into the project feeling more than a little daunted.
The original batch was a total disaster - I mean total disaster.... and I was growling and swearing in the kitchen (out of the little one's earshot) blaming gluten-free flour, 'fake' butter, etc! "How can anyone make stuff with these ingredients? This will never work! How can anyone do this!"
Assuming the substitutions were the culprit. They were the easy target to blame, right?
But, on quiet reflection of the recipe, a good night sleep, and then checking to see if there was enough butter in the house to try again - it hit me! I had only put in half of the 'butter' needed! HALF! Anyone who's made Russian Tea Cakes knows that the butter is key to holding them together.
It was my error.
Not the gluten-free flour.
Not the butter substitute.
In fact, my second attempt, with the correct amount of everything, they came out deliciously, abundantly perfect, and exactly like a 'normal' Russian Tea cake.
I used Emeril Lagasse's recipe on Food Network using an all purpose gf flour and Earth Balance natural buttery spread.
My daughter was thrilled with the cookies and said they were the best ever! And, I learned a valuable lesson about perception.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Vintage Kitchen Utensils in Red, 8x10, watercolor and ink on paper, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering
I learned to cook. really cook.
I learned I could make salad dressing as good or better as I ever bought
I learned to bake.
I learned to make ice cream (best ice cream ever!)
I took control of my health
I became more empowered
I left pain behind
I said goodbye to a lifetime of migraine headaches
I went back to running
I returned to my art
And, I went back to living!
Friday, May 3, 2013
And, with May comes Celiac Awareness Month... and I will do my part to help spread the awareness. My awareness tip of the day (and a pet peeve of mine) :
Contrary to popular belief gluten does not add flavor to baked goods.
When baking cake, cupcakes or muffins it's the chocolate, the vanilla extract,the almond extract, the orange zest, the bananas, etc that supply the flavor. Not the gluten.
Texture, yes. Flavor, no.
Though with all the brilliant gluten free bakers out there these days - there are more and more recipes and mixes that have fantastic texture sans gluten. And, of course, flavor.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Since the year started I have been making an effort to increase the vegetable intake for me and my family. Approaching each meal with the question, "How can I add one more vegetable?"
And, as I transition toward grain free (more to come on that), and more and more raw food... the focus is adding more raw vegetables. While keeping it interesting, exciting and tasty.
Yesterday I went searching for a dairy free ranch dressing recipe, of course it would need to be GF too, and stumbled upon Once a Month Mom, and found a winning ranch dressing recipe!
I saying winning because not only was it easy, and superb tasting, but a huge plate of raw vegetables were dipped and consumed during dinner last night!
This dressing is a new staple in our household.
Friday, January 4, 2013
Simply Gluten Free Magazine, Jan/Feb 2013
Kicking off the New Year with a nasty cold was not exactly what I had planned. I am all about the vision boards, resolutions, reviewing the past year, and setting my sights and goals for a new year. I love that stuff!! But, this year I am easing in a little slower, taking care of myself, and taking the time to allow my body to get heal.
Today I am sitting in the sunny spot of my kitchen, soaking in the warmth of my chai tea - and the sun, enjoying my favorite magazine! And, yes, I am quietly thinking about goals reached in 2012, goals to reach for in 2013... and beyond.
This magazine represents a life-long goal of illustrating for a printed magazine (you can find me on pg 21) and it was realized in 2012 with the premier issue. It is especially important to me, to be part of something I believe in so strongly. Living gluten-free gave me my life back, removed 30+ years of debilitating migraines, and gave me the ability, energy and focus to go for my goals.
Wishing everyone a Joyous, HEALTHY, Gluten-free New Year!!
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Before the holiday weekend is in full swing I am taking a few moments of quiet reflection to consider all that I am thankful for.
I am thankful... our house stood strong during the wrath of Sandy, as so many others were not that fortunate.
Thankful that we were without power for only 8 days.
Thankful that our curbside tree fell into the street, and not the other way.
Thankful for a strong and helpful community.
Thankful for the supplies we did have on hand.
Thankful for our library where we and hundreds others found refuge, power, and recharging each day.
Thankful I had made all my October deadlines before Sandy forced me to take a 2 week vacation(?)
Thankful for our friends who invited us to their home each day.
Thankful that these friends have a gluten-free home, and that was one less thing I had to worry about.
Thankful for Betty at the fish counter for giving us 2 bags of ice when we couldn't find any.
Thankful to be illustrating for Simply Gluten Free Magazine.
Thankful for the GF community I have found on Twitter.
Thankful for my family, my friends, my husband, my daughter.
Thankful to anyone still reading my list! :)
Wishing everyone a wonderful gluten-free Thanksgiving Holiday!
Friday, October 26, 2012
"Guacamole, a Balanced Diet", watercolor & ink on paper, 8x10, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering
I LOVE guacamole and I used to think of it as something to be saved for a special occasion. Just to be enjoyed sparingly. That somehow because of its rich, creamy texture (SO rich and creamy) and the divine, savory flavor that it must be decadent.
Before I went gluten-free chocolate was my number 1 migraine trigger. I went 23 years without chocolate (yes, 23 years!) and I used guacamole as my substitute when the chocolate craving hit hard! That oh-so-fabulous Rich Creamy texture did the trick and curbed the cravings that drove me mad. Those beautiful avacados kept me from having the chocolate trigger migraines that confined me to bed for 4 or 5 days at a time, and unknowingly I was also getting a mega health boost.
Now that I know all the amazing benefits of avacado it has become a staple in our house. I make and enjoy guacamole every chance I get, savoring every delectable bite.