Sunday, December 26, 2010

quick meals, knit nights and holiday madness

When I first when wheat free two years ago one of the first things we bought for the new lifestyle was a rice cooker. At 9,000 feet above sea level cooking can be a challenge and I had to give up Rice A Roni that was such a staple for us. The rice cooker allowed us to make near perfect rice each time. I also made sure we got a steamer basket for veggies- tonight I had an ah-ha moment and put my spinach in the steamer for the first time along with a clove of garlic.

The result was a very simple and easy dinner that was made while I took my evening shower. I added a bit of soy sauce and a bit of leftover Christmas ham with pineapple for a tasty meal with very little prep work.

In late October I couldn't spend enough time in the kitchen at night- now I'm in a new phase and spend my nights knitting. It's almost a fetish- I learned how to knit a hat in the round at the beginning of November and now am 10 hats into the process and getting better. My first hat came out ok but looked a but sketchy at the top- I've moved on to fancier brims, smaller yarns and mixing colors. It's almost like a nightly mediation time for me. Winter brings a more stressful work environment and the knitting has been an escape. When work gets tough I just want to go home, throw Grey's Anatomy on and knit.
 A sampling of my hat work, the all blue is my first ever hat.
Two recent kid creations. 
This is the time of year when balance becomes a challenge for me. Most of the world seems to get a bit of time off for the holidays while I ramp up at work and try to keep up with the typical holiday baking and demands of life. Dave also works longer hours so I fly solo on dog duty 3-4 days a week. Thankfully the knitting, ski breaks and walks with the puppy monsters have kept me sane during the madness.   
But I've also made some time to sneak out with friends after ski/work days. There's a new movement at the Telluride Ski Resort to become more gluten-free friendly. I had a Philly Cheese steak on gluten-free bread (I believe it was Udi's- even better!) and was delighted to be able to eat in a bar like a normal person, not some salad sans dressing but real bar food. Fries are still off limits but better safe then sorry.
It's a work in progress but I'm happy to see them move in this direction.

Friday, December 17, 2010

cookies and holiday madness

As the holidays approach I'm working on perfecting my cookie skills. I've been playing with some new recipes, mixes and flours.  I wish I could say I've been so busy baking that I haven't had time to post but that would be such a fractional truth. I've also been busy knitting hats, working, dealing with change, skiing, enjoying happy hour, watching world cup snowboardcross races, working too many days in a row, grey's anatomy and many reruns of,  waking up to happy puppies, testing out new gluten free offerings at Telluride Ski Resort, skiing, playing with the puppy monsters... you get the idea. If I could I'd narrow this list down to playing with the dogs, baking, knitting while watching grey's anatomy and skiing but I have other obligations in life as well. It's sad, even the camera doesn't reflect half of the things we've been up to since the mountain opened on Thanksgiving. 

I've long since given up on being able to send holiday cards. I realize that the compressed season of the ski industry and the vast amount of work to be done in the short time between pumpkin carving and Christmas trees barely allows time for posting and puppies, let alone a night of holiday cards. 

I also made the best apple pie ever for turkey day... I was inspired by a pie on the cover of Yankee Magazine and did a snowflake crust for our holiday celebration. 

The winner of all my baking has been the snickerdoodles from the Bronski's cookbook Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking. I'm a big fan of their flour blend and their book seems to be my go-to for everything from pizza dough to pie crust to cookies. I've also started flirting with dairy and ultimately cheating and went back to real  butter for baking. I've got to be careful with how much I consume but have found that it makes things much prettier and the taste is much better as well. Yes, I cheated for a prettier pie crust and cookies that wow people.

mixing almond flour with the wet stuff

almond flour cookies

cherrybrook sugar cookie mix
mixing snickerdoodles
the cookie dough scoop makes things so pretty