Scratch “Near-Disasters” in Baking

Have you ever told somebody about some cool thing you did, then the next time you tried it, it was an utter mess?

Well…

I think I may have jinxed myself. If you read my story called “Near-Disasters in Baking” yesterday, I essentially may have bragged a little too much about my totally accidental pancake pizza.

Yesterday afternoon I decided to make it again, onIy this time I tried to double the recipe. Mistake! Huge bust! Forget pancakes. They looked more like scrambled eggs.

My grandmas could roughly estimate the ingredients they needed when they baked. Some scoops of this. A pinch of that. And, substitute? These ladies could find a substitute for anything.

So, one disaster down, I thought I’d bring out my Iowa baking skills and just do it right. There I stood at my counter with various grain free/gluten free ingredients and I got busy.

Staying true to my Iowa roots, I started pouring stuff into the bowl and mixing. Ten minutes later I was rather impressed with how it turned out. It wasn’t quite traditional pizza dough, but it actually looked pretty good. Into the oven it went.

My goodness, when it was done cooking LOOKED like a pizza. A real pizza? Please bear in mind that the last time I had a real, hot, gooey, cheesy pizza on a crust you can actually pick up to eat, was last January. I could hardly wait for this one to cool off. It looked so delicious.

Are you sitting down?

It was absolutely awful.

I mean bad. Really bad. Like “peel the cheese off and leave everything else on the plate” bad.

All I can say is, it’s a good thing I didn’t write down the ingredient amounts as I went, because I can guarantee you, I will never make THAT again!

The good news is, I skipped trying to bake anything for supper last night and instead stuck with straight vegetables.

Oh, and I still had one egg left out of my three eggs! Woo hoo! Guess who had one fried egg for breakfast!

Near-Disasters in Baking

Any gluten free/grain free friends out there?

If so, you may get the humor in this. Last February I started eating gluten free and about two months ago I went grain free as well. Since then, I’ve tried my hand at baking GF/grain free.

Hmmm. Now there’s a concept. The first time I made banana bread with coconut flour, I was so proud of myself! Unfortunately, I didn’t know anything about coconut flour. Which became pretty apparent when it was done and I tasted it!

Y-U-C-K! Sums it up quite well. I figured out quickly that coconut flour isn’t a cup for cup equivalent! In fact, you don’t need much of it at all!

This baking ‘learning curve” is tricky for me. My Iowa grandmas taught me to bake with good, old fashioned flour. With regular flour, I can bake with the best of them. Homemade cinnamon rolls? Oh yeah. Homemade gluten-filled pizza dough? Definitely. Homemade noodles full of wheat flour? I can make those all day long. My Aunt Esther’s family recipe banana bread? Not as great as hers, but I can pull it off. Some yummy looking Pinterest cauliflower pizza crust?? Um. No. That was a total disaster.

However, I am determined to make something that remotely turns out like the photographs of gluten free/ grain free deliciousness I see, yet can’t seem to duplicate. It’s hard when a recipe calls for 3 eggs and you only HAVE three eggs and you know the chances are pretty good that the recipe is going to flop. Three eggs could make a nice omelette.

Maybe some day I’ll either have enough practice at this or just flat out get lucky doing it. For now, I’ll settle for my accidental invention of pancake pizza. Yes, you read that right. What was nearly a failed attempt at making coconut flour flatbread and coconut flour tortillas, actually ended up more like pancakes. Topped with red sauce and a few pinches of cheese, voila! Pancake pizza! Sounds odd, but it is actually quite tasty!

If you’ve had success at gluten free/ grain free cooking, please let me know, any tips would sure be great!

Mommy May Need Glasses

Does anyone remember those fake lips that they used to make that were made out of wax? You know, the ones you could put in your mouth, wear, and when you got tired of that you could chew them up?

I remember them from when I was a kid. They were so cool. Chew on them, spit them out, and that was that. We loved those things.

So, the other day Little Bit and I rounded the corner at the dollar store and saw the gag gifts on the end rack. He immediately picked up the lips. I told him those were so cool and after you wear them, you can chew them up because they are wax.

We finished shopping and paid for our things. After we got in our truck, he opened his lips package. I was so excited! I said, “waxy lips”. He said, “Not waxy lips, wacky lips.”

Oh… Apparently, I may need glasses.

Hilarious. I laughed so hard. In fact, I am laughing right now.

Unlikely Places

~Lovely Sunflowers~
~Lovely Sunflowers~
Where do you go to find your “center”? Do you have a place where you can of let go of your worries and gather your strength, all the while feeling completely at home in your heart? 

Some people find this in church. Others find it being with a favorite pet. Music or art is a good way to revive one’s soul. Maybe your place is in your favorite hobby. Some of my friends find their “center” when they go running.

It seems to be different for each person. For me, being in nature drops the worries and refreshes my mind. Standing on the top of a mountain is bound to be absolutely so freeing. Even a hike in the woods on a brisk fall day, with colored leaves blowing about, will sweep the negatives right out.

Like many, I’m sure, nature is my go-to. Which is why recently I was more than surprised to find a place where I could connect with my heart and my purpose right in the middle of the small town where we live.

An unlikely place, it is actually something I’ve never heard of or even considered. It is called:

Holy Yoga

Now, I’ve been to church. And, I’ve been to yoga. But, both at the same time? That was quite a new concept for me. I was intrigued, so I went.

It’s a rare occasion when a writer like me can’t think of how to accurately describe something. Adjectives don’t even seem touch it.

When I left the first class I got in my truck and said, “I found my church.” And, that’s a pretty profound statement for me. I’ve spent many Sundays sitting in various pews looking for the right church fit.

This is different. The instructor is humble, honest, and sincere. It is easy to tell that enlightening others in whatever they believe is her passion. She is very clear that it isn’t about her ideas or beliefs. It’s hard to explain, it’s like the lessons just radiate the room. Then, there’s twenty-some people doing yoga as a united group, but at the same time the “Holy” is very individual.

At the beginning of class I felt like I walked in with my worries in buckets. As the class went on, I almost literally felt myself set them down. She spoke of foundations and rocks. One yoga pose is called Mountain Pose. Basically, you are standing tall, hands at your sides, and palms out. I remember her saying to clench our fists really tight, then let it go.

It was as easy as that.

Here’s to mountains, un-clenched fists, and finding our “heart’s center” in unlikely places.

A Quieter Road, For Now

~ A Quiet Afternoon ~
~ A Quiet Afternoon ~
Does life have you stuck in the land of busy?

Ahhhh. Yes, I know that land well. Sometimes I think busy deserves it’s own zip code. Over the past couple years, we spent a lot of time there.

We were certainly blessed by all that running around we did. Friends were made. The homeschool field trips were fun and educational. We learned a lot at our Wednesday Spanish classes. We were social. We attended all kinds of events. And, we were busy.

Today I was thinking about those busy days. Our life has taken a much quieter road lately. As I sit and type this, we are at home. Home? On a week day afternoon? That certainly never would’ve happened last year. The only ones busy around here right now are the birds chirping outside my window.

Since we have slowed down a bit, I find myself thinking about when I was a kid. Mom used to take us roller skating in a nearby Iowa town. We’d all pile into our station wagon and off we’d go! I can still to this day remember what it looked like in there. But, mostly what I remember about the place is, that we must have been really fast skaters! Anyone that grew up with me will totally remember the gentleman who ran the skating rink and his famous words:

“Sloooooooow doooooown!”

Well, that is definitely a typo according to my keyboard. My computer does not like my spelling. However, “slow down” just  simply doesn’t get the point across. I’m sure if he’d said “slow down” we may or may not have listened. But, he was rather smart with his pronunciation and we knew he meant business. Funny how even years later, his two words still make me stop and think.

When my kiddo was a baby, someone told me to enjoy him because it goes by fast. Boy, were they ever right! I had no idea how fast it would go! That “slooooow doooooown” doesn’t go slow enough where life is concerned. At times, I find myself wanting to jump on life’s imaginary brakes!

Best I can tell, we are all in our own version of the land of busy or maybe your road is quiet as well. Seems like a few of my friends’ families are extremely busy and I find myself remembering being in those shoes.

Less busy is a welcome break for us. Honestly, I am savoring this one on one time with Little Bit because I know busy will come around again soon enough.

The Gift of Monday

~A Beautiful Monday~
~A Beautiful Monday~
Are you a fan of Mondays?

Seems like Mondays always get a bad wrap. The beginning of a long work week for most, I know lot of people who’d love to skip Monday.

Today Monday is a gift for us. It was a rare occasion, a family day! We started our day at a local lake and saw these amazing ducks looking for their breakfast. They didn’t seem to notice it was Monday. It’s funny how nature doesn’t get caught up in what day it is or isn’t.

It just got me to thinking about the name of a day versus our perspective of that particular day. If you work weekends, then Monday may be your “weekend”. Maybe today was your birthday and you took the day off work to celebrate. Or maybe it’s just a plain, old regular Monday but you noticed the blueness of the October sky or felt the brisk fall wind on your cheek. Perhaps, like we did, you saw the gift of a Monday, too.

History Lessons

~The Rock House on Rocky Ridge~
~The Rock House on Rocky Ridge~
Don’t you just love learning about generations that came before us?

Part of our homeschool history lessons reside in the writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I got the boxed set of her books for a few dollars at a thrift store before he was even born and we read them together last school year.

A few weeks ago, we went to the cemetery in Mansfield, Missouri where Laura,  Almazo and their daughter, Rose are buried. It’s just a little country cemetery that sits right in the middle of town. Surrounded by the Ozarks hills, it is a quiet and beautiful place.

From there, we ventured on to the gift shop at the Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home. After purchasing a few books we found out we could tour the Rock House.

There’s just something about stepping back in time. I found myself wishing my mom’s parents house was still standing. What I wouldn’t give to walk through my grandma’s kitchen once again.

The tour guide told us the history on the Rock House. The interior is bright, cheery, and welcoming, Indoor photography isn’t allowed, so I hope to always remember the quaintness of the rooms.

We ended our day at a conservation area not far from her home. While hiking those steep hills, we questioned how horses pulling wagons could’ve gotten up those hills back when the Wilder’s moved to Mansfield.

Reading her books opened our minds up to her childhood and her journeys. Being able to actually step into her homes, seeing Pa’s fiddle and even the pennies Laura and Mary got for Christmas at the museum, really brought her stories to life.