Thursday, May 31, 2012

Doughnuts for Haydn

Doughnuts on Sunday mornings are looked forward to by my boys (and me too, if I'm honest). However, this past Sunday, Haydn realized he would be giving them up. As you can imagine, this was not a happy moment. After church, I began the search for gluten-free and dairy-free doughnuts. I found this recipe and gathered my supplies (including trips to three different stores in search of a doughnut pan).

First off, let me tell you this: I am not a recipe blogger. Every once in a while, I toss something together successfully, but even then I start from a recipe I learned from someone else. I am blogging about my experiences with cooking and learning a new way to prepare and eat food. I will post lots of pictures. I am doing this to share the journey, not to be instructional. There are amazing bloggers out there offering instruction. I am grateful for them. I just want to show you that if I can learn this anyone can. I also want to post my failures and mistakes. I see all of these blogs where people seem organized and capable. I am neither. So read my food entries if you want to commiserate, or if you want to see how a scatterbrained lover of convenience foods tackles some of the amazing recipes already in cyber space.

I had no lemon juice, so I used apple cider vinegar. Also, I used almond milk instead of rice milk, because almond milk was what I already had. I put together the flour mix right before starting my doughnuts and labeled it to use again. Every blogger I come across seems to have their own mix of flours they use as a go-to. Do I need to have a billion flour mixes on my shelves or do I pick one and use it interchangeably?

I texted the hubster while grocery shopping and told him how expensive Xanthum Gum is. He politely inquired as to why I needed such expensive gum? I do not have a chewing problem. I added the tiny bit of Xanthum needed to the other dry ingredients and whisked it all together just like the recipe said.

The recipe was written for a stand mixer, which I do not own. I used a spatula instead, and it turned out just fine.

Then I used a teaspoon to drop the batter into the doughnut pan and slid it into the oven for 15 minutes.

At long last, the doughnuts were pulled from the oven, let cool for five minutes and then popped from their pan onto wax paper. While they cooled, I went ahead and mixed up the vanilla glaze. This is where a tiny bit of corn made its way into the recipe. Apparently, my confectioner's sugar contains traces of cornstarch. 

I skipped the sprinkles. We cut one doughnut into four pieces so each of us could try a bite. They were an all around success. I froze them and Haydn can have one each Sunday. 


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Food, Books, and Bargains

These are a few of my favorite things...

Yesterday, Haydn wanted to eat apple slices dipped in caramel. This is the only way he will eat apple slices, so I am okay with it. However, the caramel dip is made with milk. I promised to look for some non-dairy caramel and sent him on his way. However, as he left the room, I remembered that I can already make homemade caramel sauce. I have done it multiple times. I thought over my ingredients:

Brown sugar, butter, maybe a bit of milk

Hmmm... I could replace the milk with almond milk. And use coconut oil instead of butter. Right? It was worth a shot. So I whipped up my version of caramel dipping sauce, and it turned out yummy. Thin, but I am okay with that, because it meant he was eating more apple and less caramel. Best of all, the kids loved it and had their apple slices.

Score one for Mom.

We hit up the Goodwill bookstore today. I was hoping to find a spelling curriculum, but nothing worked. I did find one of our favorite biographies. The "Who Was" series is wonderful, and I snagged "Who Was Leonardo Da Vinci" for the boys. I also found a little History of Baseball kind of book and a copy of 84 Charring Cross Road. It has been on my list for ages. I was hoping for a collection of Flannery O'Conner short stories but came out empty-handed on that mission.

Three wonderful books for about six dollars.

And now, home sweet home, where my youngest child complained that the kitty litter box was smelling. So I sent him back downstairs to scoop it. Haydn and I both clean it on a regular basis. I won't tell you Haydn enjoys the task, but he recognizes it as part of having a pet, and he certainly loves our cat, Hocus. So, despite sensory issues that I'm sure make it difficult, he cleans it with little to no complaint.

His brother? Not so much. It will take him half an hour to complete a five minute scoop job, and he won't even get it done all the way. I will have to send him back down to finish later. He stands in the bathroom crying hysterically, gagging and exclaiming, "This is the worst day of my life."

Yes, friends, I have raised a drama queen.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gluten Free Pizza

Friday nights are pizza-and-a-movie nights at our house. Family Night, if you will. Due to a wedding rehearsal last Friday evening, we postponed the event till last night. The boys are off all electronics this week, but I made an exception for movie time with the whole family. We watched Tron. I wasn't impressed and neither was Corey, but the boys loved it. Movie aside, I was faced with the pizza dilemma. The pre-made gluten-free pizza crusts at Kroger contain eggs. So I picked up a package of Bob's Red Mill gluten-free pizza crust mix and a box of EnerG egg replacer. I also picked up 2 new pizza pans, because my pans pretty much suck, and I only have one stone. Eventually, I'd like a cabinet full of Pampered Chef baking stones. So, hey Fairy Godmother, get right on that, will you?

Step one: In a large bowl, combine water and yeast.

For me, this involved dumping the entire mix into a large bowl in order to fish out the yeast packet, so I could use another bowl to combine it with warm water. Then, I let it sit for a few minutes. I am anal about timing, so I set a timer for exactly three minutes.

Step two: While the water/yeast is sitting, combine egg replacer with warm water to form the equivalent of two eggs.

I have no idea how this egg replacer stuff works, but it really looked quite a bit like egg whites once it was mixed up.

Step three: Add egg replacer and oil to the yeast mixture.

I did not have olive oil. I used Canola oil, since it has no corn in it. I will be adding olive oil to my pantry soon.

Step four: Slowly add flour mixture to the big bowl and beat on medium speed for about a minute.

The dough got so thick I had to stop the beater and use a butter knife to push all of the mixture back into the bowl.

Step five: Leaving it in the bowl, divide into two lumps of dough. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit for twenty minutes.

Supposedly, it was to rise in that twenty minute time period. I honestly couldn't tell if it had risen or not, but decided to go on anyway.

Step six: Use wet hands to spread it over greased pizza pans.

I bought 2 twelve inch pans, but the dough didn't quite cover them. Perhaps I kept it too thick, but I don't think so. Spreading dough is always frustrating to me. Even with wet hands, it tends to stick to me, and I press holes into it, and I could not for the life of me get the edges to look pretty. I am no different from Haydn in situations like this one. If I can't be darn near perfect at something, I want to growl and cry at it instead.

Step seven: Bake it in a 425 degree oven for 7-9 minutes.

I probably should have erred on the side of less instead of more, but it turned out well, and it smelled like heaven.

Step eight: Add desired toppings.

I can take no credit here. Corey used to run a Domino's, so he is the resident pizza king. I bought the toppings and heated the bacon, but he did the pizza building. Haydn can't have beef, so I bought him turkey pepperoni.

Step nine: Bake for 12-15 minutes.

It didn't actually take that long for these to bake through. I was happy to see it looked like a real pizza when it came out. Haydn didn't care for the turkey pepperoni, but it was otherwise a win.

PS Although Cow's Milk rated in the avoid column on Haydn's test results, most cheeses did not. I don't really understand that, but for now I am not stressing over cheese. I eliminated American cheese, and he never ate cottage cheese (those were in the avoid column), but cheddar and mozzarella are currently a moderation food.

Friday, May 25, 2012


We did a blood test on Haydn, to check for food intolerance. He has quite a few it seems, but the two biggies were Cow's Milk and Gluten/Wheat. I have been shooting back and forth between complete panic and self-confidence. After much thought and taking our summer schedule into consideration, I have come to the conclusion we won't be changing everything at one time. I know all the experts say to do so, but those experts don't live in my house, on my budget, or with my Aspie son who LOATHES all change.

Anyone have any idea why Cow's Milk and American Cheese were high on the NO NO NO NO list, but cheddar and many other forms of cheese made from cow's milk did not register in that same category? This baffles me.

So, I went to Kroger, armed with coupons. As it turns out, only one of them was helpful. Most of the lovely gluten free items I had coupons for do contain dairy. Between this and the high cost of such specialty items, I found myself taking deep breaths and repeating, "baby steps."

We have neon stickers that I am affixing to Haydn-safe foods. He is not what I would call happy about the no-milk rule. I bought Almond Milk and Coconut Milk for him to try. And, since peanuts were on his "moderation" list, I also grabbed some almond butter.

We would appreciate your prayers as we start this dietary journey. And, hopefully, I will have some more cohesive thoughts to share along the way.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Two Songs

Two Songs

I posted on Facebook earlier in the week, and then I remembered this meme. I have really stretched this one out, haven't I? Well, when I posted two videos to FB, I realized I knew exactly what to post for the "two songs" segment.

In 5th grade, I took an after school drama class. Drama as in theater, not drama as in stealing  boyfriends and gossiping about other people's sex lives. I picked that up in high school with little to no instruction on the subject. Anyway... one of our assignments for Drama class was lip-syncing to a song as though we were the performers and actually singing. This would have been circa 1992. 

Some bands/singers that were topping the charts in 1992:

Kriss Kross
Boyz II Men
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Michael Jackson
Billy Ray Cyrus
Mariah Carey
House of Pain
Toad the Wet Sprocket
Arrested Development
Paula Abdul
The Cure
Amy Grant
Keith Sweat

I had a favorite girl group that year, and Dad bought me their cassette tape, which I listened to, hit rewind, listened to again, hit rewind, and on and on and on. That group was En Vogue and my favorite song was "Free Your Mind."

The other singer I worshipped that year? Loretta Lynn. No matter where I live, I remain a Kentucky Girl, and I knew all the words to "Coalminer's Daughter" and "Fist City" and a million other songs.

This explains so much of who I am. A little bit country, a little bit hip hop. It's an odd mix, I know, but I've never claimed normalcy.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Discworld: Rated PG-13

My father raised me with a sense of humor that is sarcastic and intelligent, while also being dirty minded and silly. I can remember watching Yellowbeard with him as a small child. Monty Python was an important part of my paternal education. Also, I would ask my dad to do something like "Turn on the TV" and his response was always and without fail, "Whatcha want me to do, fondle its knobs?"

I know I won't have my daddy around forever. That is the nature of this beast called Life. But, my dad gave me the gift of books, a love for reading that has sustained me through the hardest of days. I know, when I am left behind in this crazy world and Dad has gone on to find a better one, I'll always have Discworld. Terry Pratchett has written enough books to fill up a few years of my life one day. The few I have read already make me smile because my dad appears to be the American version of his favorite novelist.

This post is scattered. I'm sorry for that. My teeth have had me in a mess of pain and absent-mindedness over the last few weeks. I am writing this mostly as an excuse to post this photo:

I happened upon this odd configuration of items in my oldest son's bedroom. I took one look and laughed out loud. I had to take a picture for my dad. I mean, how cool is his grandson? It's a brand new Discworld, carried on the back of a giant pig and a book about the Universe (irony, anyone?)

Terry Pratchett isn't the only author that my dad has a particular fondness for, though he is the main contemporary writer. Actually, when I lived with my dad back in 2001, he woke up one morning, looked at me and said, "I feel like Douglas Adams is dead." He turned on the old desktop computer and searched for the talented Mr. Adams. Sure enough, he'd just passed away. When we read and love books they become a part of us in ways even we cannot fully understand.

I wish I could find a signed copy of a Pratchett book somewhere... an affordable copy, I should say. That would be one of the best gifts I could give my dad.

I wonder what we should name the pig and his curved oval disc of a world.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Currently: Mother May I?

Current Books: Haydn and I just finished a biography of Eleanor Roosevelt. We are also reading The Phantom Tollbooth and Sing a Song of Tuna Fish. In the car, we are nearing the end of the final Eragon book via audio. I will miss the language of those books. The names play in my head like music. I am reading Esther in my Bible, still making my way through Through the Year with Mary, and reading Chris Cleave's new book, Gold, in my free time. It will be published in July, and I highly recommend it. The writing is, as expected, artistically fashioned. Poetic, even. At bedtime, I alternate between another Mary book and a volume of Chesterton's essays.

Current Playlist: I made a playlist to match the book I have been writing. It is filled with 90s pop, mostly. Also any songs with a suicide theme, as the book has such a theme itself. I have been playing a station based on Israel & New Breed when I cook or clean. I think praise music helps the spirit of our home.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Food. I snack way too much. I am considering Body by Vi next month, but I'm not sure I can do it. When I am hungry, I want to eat real food, not drink something. But I need some self-discipline, and my friend raves about Visalus.

Current Colors: Brights. Kentucky blue and fuchsia and yellow.

Current Fetish: G K Chesterton. I underline so much while reading his essays.

Current Food: Thanks to a tooth being pulled, I have eaten a lot of pudding, jello, and soup this week.

Current Drink: Coffee with 1 packet of Truvia and a bit of Sweet Cream by Coldstone Creamery.

Current Favorite Favorite: Corey has finished this semester and only has one to go. Knowing he is in the home stretch is my current favorite favorite, hands down.

Current Wishlist: a bicycle with a basket, clothes that fit and look good, Kentucky championship shirt, bread machine, food processor

Current Needs: I had a handful of teeth removed when I got braces in 6th grade. I need them back now.

Current Triumph: I have finished writing another novel, The Tornado Year, and am currently editing the manuscript.

Current Bane-of-my-Existence: The way my boys fight with one another. I know siblings fight. I certainly didn't get along happily with my sister, when we were kids. But the constant bickering makes my blood pressure rise.

Current Celebrity Crush: I started watching Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23 just because I like the girl who plays the B.

Current Indulgence: Ice cream while my gums heal

Current Mood: Not bad. A little tense, but vacation is coming soon.

Current #1 Blessing: Haydn getting to pitch for his baseball team this year. It is wonderful to watch how calm and focused he can be on a ball field.

Current Slang or Saying: Seriously?

Current Outfit: My favorite t-shirt and a pair of old jeans with my hand-painted TOMs

Current Link: I have been making crossword puzzles for Haydn, using his vocabulary words

Current Quote: “Sad words are just another beauty. A sad story means, this storyteller is alive.” ― Chris Cleave, Little Bee

Current Photo:

Disqus for Madame Rubies